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Live Action Mulan Movie!

Jondee here at the Southern Dynasty,

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The live action Disney film of Mulan is set for November 2, 2018. There was a previous live action Mulan that was focused more on the legendary Mulan from the Ballad of Mulan, Mulan: Rise of Warrior (2009), it was simply Mulan before. It stars Wei Zhao, whom I know as Vicki Zhao, and was directed by Jingle Ma and Wei Dong. The film is fair as historical actioners go, but of course lacked the fun of the Disney animated film. The new film has to strike the balance. There shouldn’t be bloody battles, more on the level of a PG rating. Of course, there will be the dragon Mushu, maybe less contemporary talking which might be offensive to the Chinese, but still funny. I hope he’s more of the voice of conscious, her ancestors, than in the cartoon. Songs? There could be voices singing over the film, or one of the soldiers could sing to inspire them, but this should be kept to a minimum because again, this is a traditional story. I wouldn’t be at a loss with no songs if they can keep the energy going with the film. I hope for the movie that they will have a Chinese or Asian director. A possible candidate might be Stephen Chow who directed The Mermaid, one of the highest box office films in China, Journey to the West (2013), and Shaolin Soccer (2001). He has a great balance of comedy and action, but has worked primarily in Chinese films. Chow might also co-write the movie. John Woo, who directed Windtalkers (2002) and Red Cliff, would be great if he can be lured back to an American production. Tsui Hark, the `Steven Spielberg of Asia’, directed Detective Dee: Mystery of the Phantom Flame (2010) and Seven Swords (2005), would fit perfectly if he could be brought to Disney.

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Casting Mulan, there are options, Jamie Chung played Mulan in Once Upon a Time, was the lead in Samurai Girl, and voiced Go Go in Big Hero 6 (2014), still I think I wouldn’t go with her. The filmmakers of course need someone who can handle the action and be comfortable in an American production. I would go with Bingbing Li who starred in Transformers: Age of Extinction (2014) and The Forbidden Kingdom (2008). If there is a need for a youthful actress, the other actress from The Forbidden Kingdom might be Mulan, Yifei Liu. Another Mulan might be Bingbing Fan who starred in X-Men: Days of Future Past (2014) and the Chinese version of Iron Man 3 (2013). An interesting choice for a singer and maybe actress would be Yao Beina, “the true best voice in China”, who sang the “Let It Go” Chinese version from Frozen. A possible actress may be Yun Lin from Chow’s The Mermaid. Whoever is cast, I would like to see Ming-Na Wen (the original voice for Mulan) who is currently in Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. somewhere in the film, maybe at the matchmaker’s house. Also, BD Wong, maybe as Shang’s father or a lieutenant and James Hong, maybe again as Chi Fu. I would cast Donnie Yen as Shang. He is currently in Rogue One as Chirrut Imwe and of course can handle the stunts (see the Ip Man films). Alternately, his co-star in Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon: Sword of Destiny, Jason Scott Lee, he was of course the lead in Dragon: The Bruce Lee Story (1993). Possibly, Show Lo who was Octopus in Chow’s The Mermaid as Shang. Voicing Mushu, easy, it could be Ken Jeong from Dr. Ken, he has the right energy and cleverness, or Randall Park from Fresh off the Boat, or Bobby Lee from MadTV. For Shan Yu, I think it would be interesting if he were played by Wen Jiang, Yen’s co-star on Rogue One. Also, Collin Chou from Forbidden Kingdom or if possible Chow Yun Fat. Interesting to see how much the live action Mulan follows the cartoon, but it has potential.