Disney's live-action adaptation of the empowered animated classic, Mulan, has finally found its director.
Since delivering a critical and moderate commercial hit for Disney with McFarland, USA, Caro helmed the premiere for Netflix's upcoming series Annie and The Zookeeper's Wife, a Jessica Chastain-led World War II drama.
Since both films were announced previous year, there have been renewed calls for both studios to cast Asians or Asian Americans.
Disney has also expressed its intent to hire a woman to direct its first female-led superhero film, Captain Marvel. But with Captain Marvel and Mulan opening within a few months of each other, we can safely assume she won't be steering the Marvel superheroine pic.
Initially, Disney wanted an Asian director for "Mulan", courting Oscar victor Ang Lee for the job. Indie veteran Niki Caro has been selected by Disney to take on the story of Hua Mulan, marking her as the second female director in Disney to take on a film with a $100 million-plus budget.
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The live-action genre for Disney is doing wonders.
Disney will inevitably have to face questions as to why it doesn't appear any female Asian filmmakers were in serious contention for the job, specifically the likes of Jennifer Yuh Nelson, Karyn Kusama, or Jennifer Phang.
Meanwhile, Bill Kong has been lined up as executive producer.
"Jurassic World" and "Avatar" sequel scribes Rick Jaffa and Amanda Silver came on board in 2015 to rewrite the spec by Lauren Hynek and Elizabeth Martin. The studio will be collaborating closely with Chinese cultural consultants and its own China-based team. The studio had initially sought an Asian director for the project, meeting with Ang Lee (who passed, citing scheduling) and Rogue One star Jiang Wen, a hit director in his native China.
The project previously sparked controversy when reports emerged that an early draft of the script featured a Caucasian love interest, leading to allegations of whitewashing.