Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Two Live Action 'Mulan's Looking for Chinese Casts

Mulan: Rise of a Warrior (2010)
You may have heard about the brief social media tornado of outrage yesterday over Disney having a bought a spec script for Mulan that not only white washed the story with a 'white savior' but took our heroine out of the center and placed her as the equivalent of eye candy and prize to be won.
Disney's current live action Mulan on Once Upon A Time

You will be glad to know, Disney confirmed this is NOT the direction they are headed. At all.

In fact, they're not only very intently on a global search for a Chinese cast, for their newly fast-tracked film, but have announced they're ideally looking to have an Asian director too. (Ang Lee was approached and passed on the project, so the search continues. Source) And they've got competition.

Sony is also looking for an Asian director and plans to feature a "predominantly Asian cast" for their version of Mulan as well.

From the announcement a month ago:
While no plot details were revealed about how Sony's Mulan will differ from Disney's version, there are plans for it to shoot in China, be made with a "Chinese partner" and feature a mostly Chinese cast.
(We would hope this is a given for any Mulan project but perhaps it's better to just state the obvious and remove doubt up front. For your diversion, enjoy the Mulan cosplay by Ukranian cosplayer Buta-kun - many more photos at the link.)

The Sony project, while busy trying to snap up cast and crew from under Disney's nose, is in much earlier stages of development, however. Mirror Mirror's Jason Keller is currently writing the script* but the film likely won't hit theaters until well after Disney's already slated release of November 2, 2018 - if it does at all.

Competing with Disney to make a fairy tale, myth, legend or fable in the current live action trend is a race against a behemoth and it will take a determined and confident studio and film crew to get their film to release.

Warner Bros Jungle Book, once neck-and-neck with Disney in production has now been shifted to a 2018 release. With the unexpectedly huge success of Disney's version, we don't envy the Warner Bros team in their battle to The End, though we do look forward to seeing the legend take center stage again for a while.

It should be noted, that China and Hong Kong have already made quite a few live action film versions. One of the best is said to be the Huangmei Opera version from 1964 with Ivy Ling but the 2010 version, Mulan: Rise of a Warrior, with Vicki Zhao Wei was well received too. (See posters below.)
You can see the impressive trailer of the 2010 film below:

* As far as Disney Mulan script, Jurassic World's writers Rick Jaffa and Amanda Silver were hired to rewrite and Disney reportedly liked it so much, this is what put it on the fast track. 


  1. Two studios? Interesting. Other than from Disney, I wouldn't have expected much interest in making a Mulan film outside of China. I suppose we could chalk this up to the major signal boost a story gets when Disney makes an animated movie out of it. Of course, the fact that China is such a major market for movies these days probably doesn't hurt.

    1. Good point on the Chinese market. With Disneyland in Shanghai being a new and likely lucrative commodity, Disney now has additional motivation to court a Chinese audience.
      I don't think it's coincidence that Disney's Mulan was fastracked hot on the heels of Sony announcing their film, either. Disney had been eyeing a live action adaptation for Mulan for a while (despite a hideous spec script) but things came together rather quickly, once Sony starting poking around for resources for their own project. Of course, I could just be jaded. ;)

    2. I hadn't even known about the Sony project. I hadn't heard the announcement. My theory for the spec script to some extent is that they bought it just so some other company wouldn't. Then they would have had two competitors instead of just one. Even though the script is a total tear down and rebuild project.