The first look of  Yifei Liu as Hau Mulan in Disney’s Live-Action Mulan Film – Photo: Stephen Tilley – © 2018 Disney Enterprises, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

Production Begins on Disney’s Live-Action MULAN

The newest Disney animated movie to make it’s crossover to a live action film has just started filming in China and New Zeland. Based on the 1988 animated feature, MULAN, which starred Ming-Na Wen, Miguel Ferrer, and Eddie Murphy, it shares one of  China’s most popular folktales which is still a part of children’s curriculum today.

The Chinese folktale,  The Ballad of Mulan (Ode of Mulan)  was written in the fifth or sixth century CE and is still a part of Chinese school children’s curriculum today. In the poem, the Khan sends out a decree that one male from every family must serve in the Imperial Army.  However, Mulan, who has no older brother, steps up to take the place of her ailing father by masquerading as a male. In doing so, the determined girl who’s quick on her feet becomes one of China’s greatest warriors.

Last night I saw the draft posters,
The Khan is calling many troops,
The army list is in twelve scrolls,
On every scroll there’s Father’s name.
Father has no grown‑up son,
Mulan has no elder brother.
I want to buy a saddle and horse,
And serve in the army in Father’s place.”

-Excerpt from The Ballad of Mulan (Ode of Mulan)

Disney Live-Action MULAN Cast

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The film features a predominantly Chinese cast including Liu Yifei (“The Forbidden Kingdom,” “Once Upon a Time”) as Hua Mulan. She’s a 30-year old American-Chinese model, actress, and singer who was chosen following a year-long global casting search.  Also included in the cast is Donnie Yen (“Star Wars: Rogue One”); Jason Scott Lee (“Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon: Sword of Destiny”); Yoson An (“The Meg”); Utkarsh Ambudkar (“Pitch Perfect”); Ron Yuan (“Marco Polo”); Tzi Ma (“Arrival”); Rosalind Chao (Star Trek: Deep Space Nine); Cheng Pei-Pei (“Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon”) ; Nelson LeeChum Ehelepola; with Gong Li (“Memoirs of a Geisha,” “Raise the Red Lantern”) and Jet Li (“Shaolin Temple,” “Lethal Weapon 4”).

The live-action Mulan film is directed by Niki Caro (“Whale Rider,” “McFarland USA”) from the screenplay by Rick Jaffa and Amanda Silver (“Jurassic World,” “In the Heart of the Sea”) as well as Elizabeth Martin & Lauren Hynek. The film’s producers are Jason T. Reed (“Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles”), Chris Bender (“A History of Violence”) and Jake Weiner (“Criminal”) with Barrie M. Osborne (“The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King“), Bill Kong (“Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon,” “Monster Hunt”) and Tim Coddington (“Crazy Rich Asians”) serving as executive producers.

Disney’s Live-Action Mulan releases in US theaters March 27, 2020.

The Walt Disney Studios also recently wrapped shooting on Maleficient 2,  the sequel to the live-action Maleficent starring Angelina Jolie. The sequel releases in theatres on May 29, 2020.