Upon the release of his new epic movie The Great Wall, Hollywood star Matt Damon, whose name is credited in some of the most prestigious movie projects ever, believes that he’s never been involved with anything on the scale of this – even the subject matter of the Wall itself.

“There’s no way to describe the Great Wall – it’s almost unimaginable that human beings made that. I mean, it just goes on forever!”

Matt Damon

Concerning the fictional story of a European mercenary in China during the Song dynasty (10th century) who encounters the Great Wall and helps Chinese soldiers defend against outsiders, Damon was at pains to stress that it was not historically accurate, but culturally sensitive and with great attention paid to stunts and fighting techniques.

“This is a historical fantasy, it’s not quite the Great Wall that exists today… This is by far the biggest movie I’ve ever been involved with. The scale of it is just massive – 500 extras or more, in full battle armour, they’ve been rehearsing for months, choreographing stunts I’ve never seen before in a movie. A lot of them are being performed by people we’ve recruited from the Shaolin Temple. They’re just talented, and thrilling to watch, so beautiful and graceful.”

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Practically speaking, few things have been attempted like The Great Wall. Obviously, the crew was not allowed to film on the wall itself, so three realistic sections of it had to be erected from scratch.

“On the production side of it, the scale is huge, it’s incredible what’s been built. I really believe it’ll be one of the most impressive sets you’ll see on a screen.”

The Great Wall is the product of a Chinese-American cultural plan, given the green light at the end of 2014 and which sees the film shot entirely in China and with respect to Chinese cultural traditions, but with a Western budget and Hollywood stars at its disposal.

Chinese filmmaker Zhang Yimou, whose impressive filmography stretches back to the late 1980s, helmed the vast production, and Damon believes that nobody else could have possibly been considered for the task.

“Zhang paints on this spectacularly large canvas, he just does it in a way that nobody else does. It’s a great thing to be a part of one of his visions.”

The Great Wall is out in cinemas in the U.S. and Britain now.