Disney Is On the Hunt for the Perfect Live-Action "Mulan"
Mulan is almost ready to bring live-action honor to us all. Disney has set a November 2, 2018, release date for a reboot of the 1998 animated classic, according to The Hollywood Reporter.
Disney’s also doing a global casting search for a Chinese actress to play the titular hero. Yes, that’s right! A Chinese actress—because, well, the character is Chinese. And in the original animated film, she was played by Chinese actress Ming-Na Wen; her singing was performed by Lea Salonga, who is Filipina.
Why would the live-action version be any different, you might ask? Well, despite Disney’s upcoming slate of diverse projects, Hollywood at large has a pretty unfortunate track record of whitewashing films. When news of the live-action Mulan originally broke, a pre-emptive petition was launched by Natalie Molnar urging Disney not to cast a Caucasian actor. It seems silly to assume that Disney would do such a thing to begin with—but Molnar cited plenty of recent films, including Pan, Ghost in the Shell, and The Last Airbender, as examples of white actors being cast in roles originally meant for nonwhite characters.
The petition has garnered more than 104,000 signatures to date. The script for the upcoming Mulan is based on a spec by Lauren Hynek and Elizabeth Martin, and has been re-written by Rick Jaffa and Amanda Silver (the team behind Jurassic World). A director has not yet been announced.
Oh, and in case you were simply burning with curiosity about this: no, vice-presidential candidate Mike Pence has not yet shared his opinions on the remake. But you can be sure he probably won’t like it! Back in 1999, the politician wrote an op-ed decrying the animated tale based on a Chinese legend as liberal propaganda that encourages women to join the military. He ended the piece with this kicker: “Women in military, bad idea.” If we’re lucky, maybe he’ll broach the topic during Tuesday’s V.P. debate.
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