Production for Disney’s live-action Mulan, an adaptation of their 1998 animated film of the same name, has begun. To coincide with this, the studio has released the first official image of Liu Yifei (The Forbidden Kingdom, Once Upon a Time) as Hua Mulan. In the film, the fearless and spirited Hua Mulan poses as a man in order to fight Northern Invaders attacking China. Check out the official image here below.
Since this is a teaser image, there isn’t much to see. It does, however, set the tone of the film. A young woman wielding a sword with a courageous look in her eyes. Even the brief official synopsis sounds similar to that of the poem and the Disney animated film it is based off of.
“Mulan” is the epic adventure of a fearless young woman who masquerades as a man in order to fight Northern Invaders attacking China. The eldest daughter of an honored warrior, Hua Mulan is spirited, determined and quick on her feet. When the Emperor issues a decree that one man per family must serve in the Imperial Army, she steps in to take the place of her ailing father as Hua Jun, becoming one of China’s greatest warriors ever.
Mulan is directed by Niki Caro (Whale Rider, McFarland USA) from a screenplay by Rick Jaffa & Amanda Silver (Jurassic World, In the Heart of the Sea) and Elizabeth Martin & Lauren Hynek based on the narrative poem The Ballad of Mulan. The producers are Jason T. Reed (Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles), Chris Bender (A History of Violence) and Jake Weiner (Criminal). Barrie M. Osborne (The Lord Of The Rings: The Return Of The King), Bill Kong (Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, Monster Hunt) and Tim Coddington (Crazy Rich Asians) serving as executive producers.
Mulan continues a long line of animation-to-live-action adaptations that Disney has recently released. It follows hit films like Maleficent, Cinderella, The Jungle Book, and Beauty and The Beast. Other upcoming live-action adaptations include Dumbo, The Lion King, Aladdin, and more.
Disney also announced the remaining members of the cast, which includes Donnie Yen (Ip Man, Rogue One: A Star Wars Story) Jason Scott Lee (Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon: Sword of Destiny) Yoson An (The Meg) Utkarsh Ambudkar (Pitch Perfect) Ron Yuan (Marco Polo) Tzi Ma (Arrival) Rosalind Chao (Star Trek: Deep Space Nine); Cheng Pei-Pei (Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon); Nelson Lee; Chum Ehelepola, and Gong Li (Memoirs of a Geisha).
Unfortunately, those who were looking forward to the film having at least some of the songs from the animated feature will be disappointed. There is no mention of any musical talent, artists, or creators, but this was somewhat expected, since early reports were that the film might not have any songs. Although, Caro said at that time that it could not be determined because the project was in the pre-production process. But now, the absence of anything music-related leads us to believe this will be more of a drama. Which is okay, because films like Cinderella and Jungle Book didn’t rely too heavily on the classic songs.
Straying away from its musical counterpart might not be so bad. For one thing, Caro has described this as a thrilling epic with a female person of color in the lead, and that is definitely something to look forward to. “It’s a big, girly martial arts epic. It will be extremely muscular and thrilling and entertaining and moving.”
And really, as good as “Make A Man Out Of You” and “Reflection” are, who needs it when you have the above description. At least it’s better than the white-savior film we reportedly could have gotten.
Mulan will open in theaters on March 27, 2020.
[Image courtesy of Disney. Used with permission.]