Just last week, New Zealand director Niki Caro confirmed that she will be helming Disney's upcoming live-action Mulan while promoting her latest picture The Zookeeper's Wife. A female filmmaker making the female-led outing was a promisingly progressive choice for a studio notorious for favouring male directors – and fans were pretty chuffed. That was, at least, until Caro revealed that the remake will feature none of the Oscar-nominated songs from the 1998 animation.
During an interview with Moviefone, she said of the reboot: "From what I understand, no songs right now, much to the horror of my children." The announcement caused fans in their droves to turn to Twitter in order to share their disappointment over the announcement.
Wrote one: "Disney's not keeping the songs in the mulan movie but kept it in beauty and beast and made us listen to emma's struggle autotune vocals???" Another stated: "The songs in Mulan were the best they really tryna ruin my favorite Disney movie if I don't hear reflection I ain't watchin," while someone else used a line straight from the movie, saying: "The Mulan remake without songs? Dishonor on you, dishonor on your cow..."
And that's not the only news getting fans in a tizzy about the remake either. A casting call – which originally surfaced online back in December – has begun to do the rounds again on social media, and lovers of the original are concerned about the fact that Mulan's original love interest Li Shang doesn't feature in the listing.
While there is a very similar sounding role being advertised – "a strapping, cocky and handsome" rival of Mulan's within the Chinese Army, who slowly falls for her after he realises she's a woman –his rank and name are completely different. In the animated film, Shang – voiced by BD Wong – is a superior of Mulan's; a captain in the military and son of the general. It doesn't look like that will be the case when it comes to new character Chen Honghui, and it's safe to say the decision hasn't gone down well with Disney enthusiasts...
Looking at the changes being made, it seems evident that original scriptwriters Lauren Hynek and Elizabeth Martin and more recently, Rick Jaffa and Amanda Silver (Jurassic World), are keen for Mulan to be much more serious than its animated original.
By diminishing the army rank of the titular character's love interest too, it ensures that she is the sole focus. So while fans might not be too happy about the story being altered, their honest intentions are clear. For now, anyway, let's just hope that the alterations elevate the material rather than do the opposite.
Either way, the project is in its very early stages still, what with Caro recently telling Screencrush: "I haven't started yet so I can't give you any real detail. But the budget and the location and the story is offering such scope to me for [an] incredible, muscular piece of girly martial arts extravaganza in China. And I can't wait."
Mulan is currently scheduled to be reach UK and US cinemas on 2 November 2018.
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- Disney's live action Mulan won't feature any songs (or Li Shang) and fans are distraught