We know of at least four upcoming movies from Disney that are live-action adaptations of installments from their long-running Animated Canon. Next year alone there will be three films: “Dumbo”, “Aladdin” and “The Lion King”. On 2020 a live-action “Mulan” is scheduled to premiere. That film has already gotten plenty of discussion buzz from Disney fans due to it not being produced as a musical like the original, as well as the decision to change the main character’s love interest. But there has been no word on the pace of filming; at least until director Niki Caro shared a peek.
Entertainment Weekly has it that the director of the live-action “Mulan” has posted a photo from the movie set, a mere day after filming officially started on Monday, August 13. It is apparently a shot from a recreation of the scene from the 1998 animated film where Fa Mulan walks next to a pond while singing “Reflection” (vocals by Lea Salonga). In fact, that is pretty much confirmed by Niki Caro’s caption for the picture. The set looks like an artificial pond and garden with a green screen background, with Liu Yifei as Mulan standing alone, staring at the distance.
Comments about the set photo on Instagram cover a wide range of reactions. There was praise from solid Disney fans, and some surprise at this near-accurate rendition of the animated scene (as it implies that there might be a song number when the first info was that this “Mulan” movie is not a musical like last year’s “Beauty and the Beast”). There were also some complaints on the green screen, wondering if the production crew was not determined enough to find a natural spot to film at. Shooting locations for the movie have been set in China and New Zealand.
Disney looks set to create a new live-action franchise comprising adaptations of their classic animated films. The first for 2019, “Dumbo”, releases in March. “Aladdin” follows in May and “The Lion King in July”, in the same premiere fashion as the Marvel Cinematic Universe movies that came out this year.
Aside from the Chinese-American actress Liu Yifei, “Mulan” also stars Yoson An as her love interest Chen Honghui (replacing Li Shang from the animation), Donnie Yen as Commander Tung, Jason Scott Lee and Gong Li as the antagonists Bori Khan and his witch ally, Jimmy Wong and Doua Moua as Ling and Po (characters from the animation), Ron Yuan as Sergeant Qiang, and Jet Li as the Emperor of China. The movie is set to premiere on March 27, 2020.
Image courtesy of Variety