Titan Books has just recently released The Great Wall: The Art of the Film. This behind-the-scenes book gives some insight to how the movie was created, and also some information on the story.
Featured in this art and making of the film book, The Great Wall movie is examined in the creation of the film, production, main characters, and of course the enemy that they face – the Tao Tei.
A forward was written for this book by Thomas Tull, the Chairman of Legendary Entertainment.
“I’ve always been fascinated by the Great Wall of China. As one of the seven wonders of the world, it has always attracted myths and legends. As a kid, I heard it was the only man-made structure that you could see from space. That was such an exciting idea. This towering testament to human ingenuity; what could have inspired man to have constructed such a thing?
Growing up, I began to see the cinematic potential in this extraordinary landmark. As one of the largest defensive structures ever built, the awe-inspiring scale of the Great Wall sparked a fantastical mystery, built around a simple question: History tells us that the Great Wall was built to keep out invading armies, but what if it was built to keep out something else?” – Thomas Tull
One of the main characters in this movie was William Garin (Matt Damon), and it is explained that they had concept art for a western character in mind, and Matt Damon portrayed the role of a deadly archer perfectly.
“I really admire Matt Damon. He’s a great guy. He’s very talented, and he helped me a lot on this movie.” – Zhang Yimou, Director
Lin Mae (Jing Tian) is another main character who is part of the Nameless Order that protects the world from the villains, Tao Tei. She’s one of the only female leads that is as powerful and dangerous as William Garin.
“In a male-dominated society, one ruled by power and violence, Lin Mae embodies and affirms the idea of female strength” – Jing Tian
The Nameless Order
In the film, the Nameless Order is comprised of a General named Shao, strategist Wang, and the Crane Corps, Tiger Corps, Eagle Corps, Deer Corps, and Bear Corps. Each of these different sections of the group make up a larger picture that takes on the Tao Tei every sixty years. They each play a crucial part in ensuring the Great Wall never falls to these ruthless creatures.
- Crane Corps – lead by Lin Mae, women warriors that attack the Tao Tei from the sky on a flying rig
- Tiger Corps – lead by Commander Wu, an artillery unit
- Eagle Corps – lead by Commander Chen, archers
- Deer Corps – lead by Commander Deng, cavalry unit
- Bear Corps – member is Peng Yong, and they are the infantry unit
The legend behind the Tao Tei is a bit confusing in the movie, but the background information is furtherly given in this book. From the book The Shan Hai Jing, the Tao Tei are mentioned among hundreds of other monsters that attack China. The mind behind the Tao Tei swarm is the Queen who controls them all.
“The Queen gives us a way to see that they’re controlled, but also a way to defeat them, seeding the drones [with gunpowder to] destroy the Queen.” – Doug Miro, Screenwriter
Filming the Movie
When filming The Great Wall, sets had to be designed, along with extensive combat practice and stunt coordinators. Since the movie is primarily about fighting monsters, they had to use green screens and CGI to create them along with backgrounds.
After reading through The Great Wall: The Art of the Film, I can see how much detailing and precise choices went into making a film that is not only based on a legendary monster, but also a culture. Choices had to be made on what aspects to show of the culture, along with how the Tao Tei would act as a villainous beast.
The Great Wall: The Art of the Film is a perfect companion for anyone who enjoyed the film, or the novelization. It’s so rich with details that putting the book down is a difficult decision.
You can purchase this book from Titan Books for $29.99 USD.