Disney is applying their tried and true strategy of taking beloved animated classics and giving them the live-action treatment to Mulan, which originally starred Ming-Na Wen as the voice of the titular character. Liu Yifei will play the character in the new incarnation, leaving Wen to joke that she will neither confirm nor deny whether or not she'll have a small role in the film.
“I can’t say!” Wen joked to Entertainment Weekly about the cameo possibility. “What is it that [Marvel's Agents of SHIELD co-creator] Jed Whedon always says? It’s so funny… ‘I can neither confirm nor deny.’ So, yeah!”
Fans have conflicted feelings about this new approach to the film, though Wen holds out hope for the film's success, given Disney's track record.
“Disney has done such an amazing job with the other live-action [remakes], and I love them all, like Beauty and the Beast, Cinderella, and Maleficent,” the actress shared. “So I’m definitely excited that they chose Mulan of all the other great Disney movies to turn into live-action. I think they’ll do a great job with it, and it’s great to keep that legacy alive.”
Mulan was released after Disney scored huge success with Beauty and the Beast, Aladdin, and The Lion King, with Wen claiming it was a "shock" when she learned that the studio wanted to tell an animated story about traditional Chinese folklore. Her experience with the studio at the time gives her hope for how this new film will be developed.
“The story itself kept to the idea of this young girl wanting to protect her father, and she was brave enough to go into battle and become such a heroine…. It had staying power," Wen revealed. "I go to these comic conventions and as much as I get people who love S.H.I.E.L.D. and Agent May — that strong female character and what she represents — there are so many women and young girls who come up to me [because of Mulan].”
She added, “It’s incredible to meet these people and have them tell me their stories of how it’s influenced them and inspired them [because] they don’t feel like they were represented, which was something I never thought about because all I thought about was this folklore. Now when you see the Disney princesses, they’re all very independent and they don’t need someone to save them — that’s the legacy of Mulan, which is wonderful.”
The film is directed by Niko Caro and also stars Donnie Yen as Commander Tung and Jet Li as the Emperor of China.
Disney's Mulan is slated to hit theaters on March 27, 2020.
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[H/T Entertainment Weekly]