The Hollywood Reporter is exclusively reporting that Niki Caro will be directing Disney’s live-action adaptation of Mulan.
The premise of the 1998 animated film of the same name was that in order to save her father from death in the army, a young maiden named Mulan secretly goes in his place and becomes one of China’s greatest heroines in the process.
Niki Caro will be the second woman at Disney Studios to direct a film budgeted over $100m, with Ava DuVernay being the first with the upcoming film A Wrinkle In Time. The report believes that other women directors considered for the project included Patty Jenkins and Michelle MacLaren.
Disney and Mulan producers Chris Bender, Jason Reed and Jake Weiner have been attempts to assure fans that Mulan will be culturally authentic, initially seeking to bring in an Asian director for the project, including meeting with director Ang Lee and Rogue One star Jiang Wen, who is a hit director in his native China. Whilst having conversations with Chinese cultural consultants and working closely with Disney’s own China-based team, the studio has brought on board Hong-Kong based producer Bill Kong to serve as an executive producer. Bill Kong has produced some of the most successful Chinese films to crossover the mainstream, from Hero to House of Flying Daggers to Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon.
The studio is currently focusing its casting search in mainland China for the main roles, including Mulan herself. The initial script that Disney purchased was penned by Lauren Hynek and Elizabeth Martin, which has now been written by Rick Jaffa and Amanda Silver.
The news about Niki Caro directing is not one I initially thought of but one I guess makes sense for Disney to hire. Caro has directed films such as Whale Rider (which I still have to watch and I have the DVD of it), North Country (good film starring Charlize Theron) and McFarland USA, which is a cross-country drama she directed for Disney. Now it’ll be interesting to see who ends up being cast in the lead role.
Mulan is scheduled for a cinematic release on the 2nd November 2018.