Disney Hires Female Director For Mulan Remake, Is Finally Doing Something Right

Photo: Moviestore Collection/REX/Shutterstock
Is it just me, or has the whole lead-up to the new Mulan film been an emotional rollercoaster? First, the news broke that a live-action remake of the 1998 classic would soon be upon us, and our terrible but enthusiastic singing impressions of Lea Salonga and Donny Osmond could be heard far and wide.

Then came the rumors of an awful thing: the potential whitewashing of the new Mulan cast — or at least its male lead. And our hopes were dashed. As one Twitter user wrote, "Honestly if Disney won't #MakeMulanRight they may as well not make it at all. Would rather have no live action film than a whitewashed one." And we were right there with you, Millie.

But now, finally, we're happy to report a bit of good news. For one thing, Disney has assured fans that Mulan and the rest of the film's main characters will be, as they should, Chinese. According to The Hollywood Reporter, the studio's casting search is taking place in China. The second piece of good news is that Disney has hired a female director and a Chinese producer to helm the film.

According to THR, Whale Rider director Niki Caro will be the second woman to direct a Disney movie with a $100 million-plus budget (Ava Duvernay, who is directing A Wrinkle In Time and thus making all of our inner nerd kids rejoice, is the first). Bill Kong, the producer of everyone's favorite martial arts masterpiece Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, is signed on to executive produce. Disney was initially hoping for an Asian director as well — the studio met with Ang Lee and Jiang Wen — but ended up going with Caro. We can't blame them: She's done some seriously strong projects and it makes absolute sense that the tale of badass warrior-gal Mulan should be directed by a woman.

Yet this nevertheless begs the question: Was a director who is both female and Chinese too hard to find? Maybe next time, Disney.
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