After Numerous Industry ‘Whitewashing’ Controversies, Disney Wants Chinese Actress for Live-Action ‘Mulan’
Disney is launching a global casting search to find an actress to play the legendary Mulan in a new film. The studio has confirmed it is making a live-action retelling of the beloved animated movie, which tells the story of Chinese war heroine Hua Mulan, who disguises herself as a man in order to take her father’s place in the army and go to war. Aided by her trusted dragon, Mushu, she becomes a warrior and one of the country’s greatest heroines.
Disney is now fast-tracking the production of the film and hopes to release it in theaters from November 2018. According to The Hollywood Reporter, a major search for a Chinese actress to play the central character is now underway. It has also been reported that a 2015 spec script by Lauren Hynek and Elizabeth Martin is being reworked by Rick Jaffa and Amanda Silver, to create “a more nuanced and elaborate adaptation” that will draw from not just the 1998 animated Mulan, but also the classic Chinese legend that inspired it. A director for the new Mulan has yet to be announced, though Jason Reed, Chris Bender and Jake Weiner are attached to produce. The original 1998 film featured the voices of Ming-Na Wen, Eddie Murphy, Miguel Ferrer, and BD Wong in the English version, with Jackie Chan providing his voice for Chinese dubs of the movie. It grossed $304 million worldwide. The studio’s emphasis on live-action comes after the recent success of Maleficent and Cinderella, as well as the forthcoming Beauty and the Beast, starring Emma Watson, which is one of the most anticipated movies of 2017. The release of the teaser trailer in May racked up a whopping 91.8 million times in its first 24 hours, besting Star Wars Episode VII: The Force Awakens. Disney has several more live-action remakes and retellings lined up for the next few years including The Lion King, The Little Mermaid and Winnie the Pooh.