The criticisms just keep coming for Matt Damon's fantasy-action film The Great Wall, and it looks like they won't be slowing down any time soon. Aside from accusations of white savior tropes, as well as whitewashing amongst the cast, viewers have also questioned Damon's unplaceable accent.
In #TheGreatWall, Damon plays an ambiguously European fish-out-of-water in ancient China, searching for gunpowder and taking out hungry aliens. His character's nationality isn't revealed, and his accent certainly doesn't help. But there's an interesting reason for that— and it involves Damon's own creative input.
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It Was A Team Effort
Damon got by with a little help from a friend— that friend being dialect coach Tim Monich. Monich has worked on titles such as Inglourious Basterds and Django Unchained in the past, and had previously worked with Damon on The Departed.
Apparently Damon had a fairly involved role in the creation of his character; according to an interview with Yahoo, he and Monich took a unique approach to their vocal sessions:
"The accent, we just made up, literally."
The two of them invented the hybrid accent in order to fit in with the film's time period, the Song Dynasty:
"We kind of thought, theoretically, what we needed, it couldn’t be modern English. It had to be understandable. And then [Monich] made rules for it, the way he does for any dialect we’re working on. So we kind of cobbled it together that way."
Damon also took it upon himself to learn a bit more about archery for his role, in the same way any normal person learns anything: YouTube videos. It was there that he stumbled upon professional archer Lajos Kassai, who Damon later contacted to teach him the ropes. Suffice to say, the actor most likely didn't have as much creative control when it came to mastering his deadly bow and arrow.
Master Of Accents?
This isn't Damon's first role that involved an intriguing accent. He's tried on a variety of hats in terms of diverse roles, with a few of them involving some unique pronunciations. Check out Matt Damon's accent abilities over the years and decide for yourself just how well he pulled then off:
5. Mystery Accent— The Great Wall
Is it Irish? Is it American? Is it offensive? Not even Matt Damon knows!
4. Boston Accent— Good Will Hunting
In one of the most iconic roles of his entire career, Damon was applauded not only for his acting abilities, but his realistic Boston accent.
3. Yet Another Boston Accent— The Departed
Unfortunately, it looked like Damon got a little rusty since the 1997 release of Good Will Hunting. His Boston accent in The Departed was completely different, and not everyone was a fan; Bill Simmons even told GQ that The Departed "is a catastrophe of bad Boston accents".
2. South African Accent— Invictus
In what was quite possibly his most challenging attempt yet, Damon donned a South African accent for Invictus. Given the film's story was particularly significant to the South African people, there was no doubt a fair amount of pressure to do the difficult accent justice.
1. American Southern Accent— The Rainmaker
In order to prepare for the role, Damon swapped scripts for scotch and took on a job in a Tennessee bar, which apparently helped his vocal performance.
What are your thoughts on Matt Damon's accents?