Disney ended up choosing a female director from New Zealand to helm the upcoming live-action Mulan film after all the Asian directors they approached reportedly passed on the gig.
According to The Hollywood Reporter, Kiwi filmmaker Niki Caro has been tapped to direct the highly-anticipated production that Disney announced back in early 2015.
Caro, who is known for her work featuring strong female lead characters, recently wrapped up “The Zookeeper’s Wife”, which will be released by the end of March.
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The 50-year-old talented director first got international acclaim via her breakout film “Whale Rider”, a critically praised film which won a number of awards at international film festivals.
According to Disney, they first sought the services of famed director Ang Lee, but he passed, citing conflicts in schedule. “Rogue One” star Jiang Wen, an accomplished director in China, also refused the directorial job.
The studio, however, has hired Hong Kong-based producer Bill Kong as executive producer to make sure the film is culturally authentic.
Kong is credited for ensuring the cultural authenticity of popular blockbusters such as
House of Flying Daggers”, “Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon”, and “Hero”. He is also the producer for major Chinese releases, including “Monster Hunt”, “Wolf Totem” and “Journey to the West”.
Disney had earlier confirmed that the film will at least have an all-Asian cast, dispelling rumors that the male lead for Mulan would be played by a Caucasian actor.
Asian American actors, however, should not get their hopes up as the studio is reportedly aiming to search for the lead roles in mainland China. This includes the role of the titular heroine Mulan.