Disney has just recently signed on Niki Caro (The Zookeeper’s Wife) as the director of the new live-action film Mulan, marking her as the fourth woman director to ever helm a $100-million film project, joining the ranks of Kathryn Bigelow, Patty Jenkins and Ava DuVernay, who was recently signed on for A Wrinkle in Time. Mulan follows the recent rise in live-action remakes following last year’s highly successful The Jungle Book, 2015’s Cinderella and next month’s anticipated release of Beauty and the Beast.
Recently, major studios have begun to feel the pressure to create equal opportunities for female directors, following the recent criticisms of Hollywood’s penchant for hiring male directors for huge tentpole blockbusters without much experience to back them up. So Disney’s hiring of Caro is a huge step in the right direction. Also, much of Hollywood has been criticized for whitewashing roles that are meant for different races, which could prove troublesome when we start to see casting announcements. Now obviously, there’s no indication yet of who will be playing Mulan, but based on Hollywood’s track record, it’s not hard to imagine attempts to cast a well-known white actress. But Disney did cast Indian-American actor Neel Sethi in The Jungle Book, and he was phenomenal. While it’s easy to take a cynical look at the whole process, if anyone is going do it right, one would think that Disney would take painstaking efforts to make things right. For their part, the studio has promised they will embark on a global casting search to find a Chinese actress to play Mulan.
Mulan comes to theaters on Nov. 2, 2018. There are no announcements for the cast of the film, but we imagine those should be popping up shortly.