Disney’s search for a director to helm their live-action adaptation of Mulan is over.
Following an exhaustive search, the studio has chosen MacFarland, USA‘s Niki Caro to direct the film. She will be joining Bill Kong (Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon), who will serve as an executive producer. More on the story below.
THR was the first to break the news. Caro will be the second female filmmaker to direct a film that has a budget over $100 million. Oddly enough, Ava DuVernay is directing an adaptation of A Wrinkle In Time, for Disney, which also has a budget over $100 million.
Other directors who were in consideration for the job include Patty Jenkins (Wonder Woman) and Michelle MacLaren (Breaking Bad, Westworld). Caro’s hiring puts her out of the running to direct Marvel Studios’ Captain Marvel, as that film is scheduled to be released around the same time that Mulan hits theaters. Disney had made an effort to find Asian filmmaker, which included names like Ang Lee (Brokeback Mountain) and Rogue One star Jiang Wen, to helm the film. So while they couldn’t get one to ink a deal, we can take solace in knowing that a female director is behind the lens of a film with a strong female lead.
Disney and producers Chris Bender, Jason Reed, and Jake Weiner are doing everything they can to make sure the film is culturally authentic. One of the ways they are doing that is by bringing in Rick Jaffa and Amanda Silver (Jurassic World) to do rewrites on an early draft of the film, which was written by Elizabeth Martin and Lauren Hynek. The early draft has been criticized for having a Caucasian lead fall in love with the title character and saving the nation of China. Now the new draft will see Mulan saving the day and falling for an Asian love-interest. The studio is also in discussions with Chinese cultural consultants and their own China-based team.
This isn’t the only Mulan feature in the works. Sony is putting together their own telling of the Asian heroine, and have hired Game of Thrones‘ helmer Alex Graves to direct their adaptation.
As for the casting, Disney is focusing its search in mainland China for the main roles, including the legendary woman warrior herself.
[Source: The Hollywood Reporter]