Disney has put a woman director at the helm of its next live-action re-make, Mulan.
Niki Caro, who was behind the New Zealand family drama, Whale Rider , is the second Disney movie with a budget of over $100 million to go to a woman director. Ava DuVernay’s adaptation of A Wrinkle In Time has the same price tag.
The original animated version of Mulan was released in 1998 and was packed with action sequences, so the hefty budget will be put to good use in re-creating them. The film’s period setting won’t come cheap either.
Caro, who previously worked for Disney on the sports drama McFarlane USA, had been on the short list to direct Captain Marvel but her attachment to Mulan means that she’s pretty much out of the running. Her next film, The Zookeeper’s Wife, stars Jessica Chastain and has its UK release in May.
In a move to make Mulan culturally authentic, Disney’s own China based team is closely involved in the project and Hong Kong based super-producer, Bill Kong, has been hired as executive producer. He produced some of the most successful Chinese films to hit Western cinemas – Hero, House Of Flying Daggers and Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, for which he received an Oscar nomination. He was also behind many of China’s biggest hits, including Monster Hunt and Journey To The West.
And, despite rumours that its film would have a white male lead, Disney is making sure that all the main characters are Chinese. A talent search is currently underway in mainland China.
A lifelong lover of films, I'm at last living the proverbial dream - as a film critic and radio presenter. My blog and podcast, both called Talking Pictures, are award nominated, and I'm heard rabbiting away about movies to my heart's content every Friday morning on BBC Surrey and BBC Sussex. Favourite film? The Third Man. Career highlight to date? Interviewing Woody Harrelson in his trailer at Pinewood!