Gong Li and Jet Li join Donnie Yen and Liu Yifei in Disney’s Mulan
The Hollywood Reporter reported today that Gong Li and Jet Li, two major Chinese stars, will be joining the cast of Disney’s live-action Mulan. This comes a day after the announcement that Donnie Yen was joining the cast.
Jet Li is currently in final talks to play the emperor of China, who orders the mobilization of troops via the conscription of one male from each household. For those unfamiliar, Jet Li is a legend. For those of us in the United States, you may be more familiar with his work in The Expendables franchise. I know him more from his Once Upon a Time in China series. Either way, this casting excites me.
Gong Li is considered to be one of China’s most well-known actresses as well as one of their greatest beauties. She was voted the most beautiful woman in China in 2006. Gong Li has been a longtime muse of one of my favorite directors Zhang Yimou. She has starred in his Red Sorghum, The Story of Qiu Ju, Raise the Red Lantern, Curse of the Golden Flower, and Coming Home. If you think her face looks familiar, that’s because you might have seen her in Memoirs of a Geisha, Miami Vice, or Hannibal Rising.
What plot changes have been revealed about the film?
The report also revealed a couple of plot points that will be a deviation from the original 1998 animated film. Gong Li will be portraying the villain of Mulan. Instead of Shan Yu, the leader of the Huns invading China, the villain will be a powerful sorceress. I’m not quite sure how I feel about this particular plot shift, but I’ll wait to see where this plot development goes once teasers and trailers are released.
Another change is the inclusion of a sister for Mulan in this live-action adaptation. Chinese-Vietnamese actress Xana Tang (Filthy Rich, The Letdown) will be playing the sister of Liu Yifei’s Mulan.
Casting is quickly underway
The last we heard of casting was back in November when it was revealed that the Chinese actress Liu Yifei would be playing the titular character. Disney is still in the middle of casting up the film now, but production is set to begin sometime in August this year. The current release date has been set to March 27, 2020.
The live-action adaptation will be directed by Niki Caro (Whale Rider), who will be the second female director ever hired by Disney to direct a big budget film. The script was written by Lauren Hynek, Rick Jaffa, Amanda Silver, and Elizabeth Martin. Chris Bender, Jason Reed, and Jake Weiner are producing.
What do you think of this news? Please let us know in the comments below.