Sony and Disney have both announced that they're creating live-action versions of Mulan, as HitFix reports. Sony's will be shot in China, and its cast will consist mostly of Chinese actors, according to Variety. Disney hasn't released such details yet, but given Hollywood's history of casting white actors as Asian characters, people are worried that the film could wind up whitewashed. A Care2 petition is calling on Disney to cast Asian actors in the movie, arguing that a lack of representation of racial minorities harms not only actors of color, but also people of color in the audience. Nearly 100,000 supporters have signed the petition as of Wednesday afternoon. People are also expressing their thoughts on social media.
The concern is understandable, considering several recent casting choices. Matt Damon's The Great Wall, for example, stars a white man despite being set in China. “We have to stop perpetuating the racist myth that only a white man can save the world,” Constance Wu wrote in response to the decision. And British actress Tilda Swinton will be playing The Ancient One, a Tibetan man, in Doctor Strange. "This disturbing trend of whitewashing in big-budget movies can't get a chance to take root in Mulan as well, and if any company can afford to 'risk' adapting a beloved story with a cast of POCs, it's Disney," the petition reads. Whitewashing, the petition argues, makes it "far more difficult for countless children around the world to see themselves in the stories they love and think that they, too, can make a difference."