Disney has been doing a lot right recently in terms of casting for the live-action ‘Mulan‘ directed by Niki Caro, as there’s a lot of quality in the lineup of Liu Yi Fei, Jet Li, Gong Li, Donnie Yen, and Xana Tang. However, the roles they’re playing are a bit surprising, at least in how they deviate from the story everybody knows. In particular, Gong Li is apparently playing the villain in ‘Mulan’ … which is now a witch instead of the Huns.
Jet Li is in final talks to play the emperor of China, who orders the mobilization of troops via the conscription of one male from each household. The titular heroine, Hua Mulan (Liu Yifei), disguises herself as a man in order to spare her elderly father from having to join the military.
Meanwhile, Gong Li is confirmed as the villain in Mulan, a powerful witch (this appears to be a departure from Disney’s 1998 animated version, in which the primary antagonist was Shan Yu, leader of the invading Huns).
Also joining the cast is Chinese-Vietnamese actress Xana Tang, who will play Mulan’s sister (another original character for the live-action film).
Niki Caro is directing the film, which also includes Donnie Yen as Mulan’s mentor, Commander Tung. Mulan, whose release date was pushed back to March 27, 2020, will begin shooting in August in China and New Zealand.
While the cast is promising, the creative choices appear … um, questionable. Not sure why they feel the need to try and fix what’s not broken. Judging movies before they’re released is silly, of course, it just makes you wonder what the hell is going on.