Earlier this year, fans panicked when the news broke out that the live-action adaptation of the beloved animated movie Mulan will not feature any songs. However, director Niki Caro has clarified that music will definitely play a role in her version of the Disney classic.
Ode to the Original
After the record-breaking success of Beauty and the Beast, the pressure is high for upcoming live-action adaptations currently in development at Disney. Among the titles up for a reintroduction to the big screen and the modern audiences is Mulan.
However, the project, which is currently still in its early stages has faced criticism. After Caro seemingly hinted that the songs from the original animated movie will not be included in the adaptation, many were dismayed.
But, apparently, one just cannot bring the 1998 movie back without the music. While doing the press rounds for The Zookeeper’s Wife, Caro told The Hollywood Reporter that her take on the story of the heroine of China will have music after all.
“The live-action is based on that inspirational Chinese ballad and on the animated Disney classic,” the filmmaker explained. “We’re still exploring the role that music’s going to play in it, but for sure there will be music.”
The original animated movie released almost twenty years ago was well-received by critics and audiences. It grossed over $304 million in the global box office and received nominations for an Academy Award and two Golden Globes. It starred Chinese actress Ming-Na Wen as the voice of the titular heroine and Broadway star Lea Salonga as her singing voice.
The movie also featured BD Wong, Donny Osmond, June Foray and Eddie Murphy as Mulan’s funny sidekick Mushu.
Incorporating Culture and Tradition
The original animated movie was based on the legend of Hua Mulan, a warrior who takes her aged father’s place in the army. She was a skilled martial artist and wielder of the sword. She fought for twelve years before she quietly retired in her hometown.
In the wake of whitewashing controversies that plagued movies such as Ghost in the Shell and Doctor Strange, Caro also talked about how she will make the adaptation culturally authentic. The director assured that she plans on working with experts on the history of China.
She pointed out that a number of her own movies are not centered on her culture. The Zookeeper’s Wife, for example, depicts Jessica Chastain as a Polish woman in Warsaw during the German invasion of Poland. She also said that while making Whale Rider, she learned that to be “specific and authentic is to be universal.”
The cast of the Mulan live-action remake has not been announced yet. However, Caro and Disney assured in previous interviews that they will cast a Chinese actress to play the titular role. The studio also assured that the love interest of the heroine will remain Asian despite rumors that Shang will be replaced by a new Caucasian character.
So far, there is no word on whether the dragon Mushu will also be included in the live-action adaptation. The dragon protector was quite memorable mostly because of the hilarious performance of Murphy. Fans hope that the comedian will reprise his role in the upcoming remake.
Mulan Live-Action Remake Details
The upcoming movie made Caro only the second woman in the studio to lead a project that has a budget of over $100 million. Ava DuVernay is the first with her own take of Madeleine L’Engle’s A Wrinkle In Time.
Disney also considered other women directors such as Patty Jenkins of Wonder Woman and Michelle MacLaren for the project. The studio initially wanted to hire an Asian director to helm the movie. Ang Lee was in talks to direct the live-action adaptation, but passed because of scheduling conflicts. Jiang Wen of Rogue One: A Star Wars Story was also considered, but the job ultimately went to Caro.
Hong Kong-based producer Bill Kong will oversee the project. Meanwhile, Rick Jaffa and Amanda Silver of Jurassic World will pen the script.
The Mulan live-action remake will be released on Nov. 2, 2018.
Photo Source: Facebook/Mulan