Disney recently announced a release date for their upcoming live-action Mulan movie, but now they are in need of a director to tackle the project. The studio is reportedly hoping to find an Asian director to take on the adaptation, and their first choice was Academy Award winner Ang Lee. Unfortunately for the House of Mouse, he has passed on Mulan, so the search will have to continue.
The Hollywood Reporter broke the news that Ang Lee passed up the opportunity, but no reason was given. Sony recently also announced that they had their own plans to do a live-action take on Mulan and they are distributing Ang Lee’s latest movie Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk. This is purely speculative, but it is very possible that Sony could also be courting the director for their Mulan movie, which is maybe why he passed up Disney’s offer. Or he just may not be interested for some reason.
The collective internet seemed to be ecstatic when Disney made their Mulan plans official recently, but the project quickly found its way to a little bit of controversy. Details on an early draft of the script for the movie leaked, which revealed a white male lead. Given all of the recent uproar with whitewashing in Hollywood, people were not happy. Disney has come out since and made it clear that the cast of the live-action Mulan will be all-Asian. In addition, the studio seems to really want an Asian director, if possible. Sadly, unless something changes, it just won’t be Ang Lee.
The original Mulan centered on the title character, voiced by Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D star Ming-Na Wen, who disguises herself as a man to take her ailing father’s place on the battlefield. With the help of her beloved dragon sidekick Mushu, who was voiced by Eddie Murphy, she transforms into a brave warrior who becomes one of her country’s most honored heroines. The original voice cast also included Miguel Ferrer, Harvey Fierstein, June Foray, James Hong, Pat Morita, B.D. Wong and George Takei.
Disney has had a ton of success with their live-action adaptations of animated classics lately, which has prompted them to move ahead with movies like Mulan. Cinderella proved to be a massive hit last year, bringing in $543 million worldwide. The Jungle Book did even better for the studio this year, bringing in just shy of $1 billion. Next year we will see a live-action take on Beauty and the Beast, which is likely to continue the trend of success for these live-action takes. Disney’s live-action Mulan is currently set for release on November 9, 2018.