The announcement that Disney is making a live-action version of Mulan was met with a mix of excitement and understandable apprehension. While the 1998 animated classic has plenty of fans who would welcome a reboot, many were nervous the film could wind up whitewashed. Recent examples like Scarlett Johansson leading The Ghost in the Shell, and Emma Stone playing a woman of Hawaiian and Chinese descent in Aloha have made it clear that Hollywood has no problem casting white actors in Asian roles. It seemed the creatives behind Disney's remake had learned from others' mistakes, however, when news broke last week that the film is searching for a Chinese actress to play Mulan. An anonymous blog post, however, has mobilized the internet once again to demand that Disney #MakeMulanRight.
In a post titled "An Open Letter to the Creators of Disney's Live-Action Feature Film The Legend of Mulan" published on Angry Asian Man, the anonymous writer explains that he has seen a spec script for the live-action Disney film that would introduce a white male lead. "A white merchant's business brings him to the heart of a legendary Asian conflict," he writes of the script's plot. "[The white merchant] unwittingly helps save the day while winning the heart of the Asian female."
In a series of tweets, Angry Asian Man has said that the spec script might not be the one that makes the final cut. He also points out, however, that it's frustrating that this script was even considered. Actor Joel de la Fuente from The Man in the High Castle has supported the blogger's claim that the script is real and was considered, tweeting, "I can back you up on what you’re saying. I confirm everything you said about that draft."
The frustration in the tweets connected by the #MakeMulanRight hashtag is palpable and understandable. It doesn't just stem from the possibility of a white lead in Mulan, but from the fact that elsewhere in the film world, Matt Damon is going to save China and a previously Tibetan character in Doctor Strange is being played by Tilda Swinton.
"Honestly if Disney won't #MakeMulanRight they may as well not make it at all," one Twitter user wrote. "Would rather have no live action film than a whitewashed one."