With two studios in the works to create their own version of the Chinese legend, searching for the Mulan live-action director has been a top priority. While Disney is rejected by Taiwanese director Ang Lee, Sony taps on Game of Thrones director Alex Graves.
The Chinese legend is based from the 1998 animated film of Hua Mulan, who hides her gender and pretends to be a man to join the Imperial Army in place of his old father’s shoes.
Following the success of Disney’s live-action adaptations like Cinderella, Maleficent, and The Jungle Book to name a few, the studio decided to create a remake of Mulan. This is following the studio’s latest live-action adaptation Beauty and the Beast starring Emma Watson, which is set for release on March 17, 2017.
Mulan’s live-action remake is not without controversies. The beloved heroine’s solid fanbase are concerned with the possibility of whitewashing the characters, which Disney has been reported to have done in their previous adaptations like Pan, Ghost in the Shell and The Last Airbender. This led to a petition not to cast white actors, including Mulan’s love interest, to portray the Chinese characters.
With that, the studio has confirmed that they are doing a global casting for a Chinese actress to take the role of the titular heroine. They also made it clear that major roles will be played by Chinese actors.
Recently, the studio is on the lookout of having an Asian director as well which led them to tap on Life of Pi’s Ang Lee. However, Lee rejected the offer.
Disney is not the only one expecting to recreate Mulan, though. Sony is also kicking its gears to start their own adaptation of the Chinese heroine as well.
Speculations came up that Sony may have tapped Lee to be their Mulan live-action director first. Notably, Lee’s latest movie Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk, which is set to be released on Nov. 11, is produced and distributed by Sony via TriStar division.
The assumptions were put to rest when Lee clarified that he passed the opportunity to be the Mulan live-action director because of a long overdue project that he is working on. He says he has something else in mind and he does “not want to hold up anybody.”
He thinks Mulan “sounds like a wonderful project” but he is set on finishing a “boxing movie” – assumed to be his Muhammad Ali and Joe Frazier movie project. The biopic has been in Lee’s lineup for awhile now which he developed even before Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk.
Lee’s experience in the execution of martial arts while tugging our emotional heartstrings would have been a nice vision for Disney’s Mulan. However, Disney has fast-tracked the film while targeting a Nov. 2, 2018 release date. This makes it impossible to work with the Taiwanese director in the said time frame.
Sony, on the other hand, seems to take a darker approach than Disney. The studio is in early talks with Game of Thrones director Alex Graves who is known for directing heavy episodes and iconic battle scenes in the HBO series. It is safe to say Sony’s version will not have any musical scenes as opposed to Disney’s combination of the literary ballad and 1998 animated film of Mulan.
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