Early exclusive news broke on Valentine’s Day when The Hollywood Reporter posted that director Niki Caro will helm the live-action Mulan film. The New Zealand native is known for her terrific directorial work in The Zookeeper’s Wife, McFarland, USA and Whale Rider. Per THR’s story:
Caro’s most recent film, Focus’ upcoming The Zookeeper’s Wife, has been praised for its gender-inclusive set by its star, Jessica Chastain. Disney previously worked with Caro, a New Zealand native, on the 2015 cross-country drama McFarland, USA, for which she lived in central California for nearly a year to immerse herself in the Mexican-American community there.
THR also reports that Caro was on Disney’s short list to direct Captain Marvel (the studio’s first female-fronted superhero movie) but now that Disney has tapped her for this project, speculations are that now that chance is slim. The studio and producers also have heard the fan’s pleas to make sure Mulan will be culturally authentic. Renowned director Ang Lee was initially approached for the project but had to turn away due to scheduling issues and Disney’s China-based team is bringing in Bill Kong (Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon) from Hong Kong to executive produce. Additionally, the Mouse House is taking measures to make sure “all primary characters in its movie will remain Chinese.”
Mulan is slated for a November 2018 release.