Walt Disney Pictures’ current habit of turning its animated features – most of which are based on classic fairy tales or fables – into modern live-action “re-imaginings” is now such common knowledge, it’s even been parodied on Saturday Night Live. It would appear that the next centuries-old legend turned Mouse House animated feature lining up for a live-action remake is Mulan – a story Disney first adapted as a 2D ‘Toon in 1998.

This isn’t Disney’s first attempt at a live-action Mulan film adaptation; five years ago, the studio made plans to fund a live-action retelling starring Zhang Ziyi (Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, House of Flying Daggers) that ultimately fell by the wayside. However, this new version stands a better shot at coming together, now that the House of Mouse has refined its technique for re-fashioning popular titles from its animated filmography as modern live-action tentpoles.

THR reports that Disney’s purchased a Mulan live-action film script from the relatively unknown screenwriting duo of Lauren Hynek and Elizabeth Martin – meaning, the next step is to attach a director to the project. As for the story: the Mulan legend usually revolves around a young woman named Fa Mulan, who disguises herself as a man to take her ailing father’s place and serve in ancient China’s army when war breaks out.

Mulan is a pretty timeless narrative (thematically-speaking) that doesn’t require much tweaking to fit contemporary moviegoer preferences – not so much beyond what the 1998 animated film adaptation offered, that is. That movie was generally well-received and financially successful – so again, that’s all the more reason to suspect that Mulan ought to be a relatively traditional “story retold”, similar to this year’s live-action Cinderella.

mulan disney live action movie Mulan Live Action Movie Being Developed by Disney

So, what other Disney live-action remakes of animated features will be arriving in the future? Well, in 2016, Jon Favreau’s live-action/CGI The Jungle Book will hit theaters, followed later that year by David Lowery’s (Ain’t Them Bodies Saints) live-action/CGI Pete’s Dragon – the latter, admittedly, being a remake of a live-action/2D animated hybrid. (Oh, and let’s not forget Alice in Wonderland: Through the Looking Glass, also coming in 2016) Disney also recently set Dreamgirls director Bill Condon’s live-action Beauty and the Beast musical for a 2017 release – and some point thereafter, Tim Burton’s Dumbo live-action movie will be released.

Kenneth Branagh’s Cinderella has by far come closest to earning near-universal acclaim out of Disney’s modern live-action re-imaginings of its animated films. Alice and Maleficent, despite being rather huge at the box office, left general audiences and critics more split by comparison. Disney’s upcoming wave of live-action remakes will probably continue to be relatively hit/miss, but there’s certainly potential for any of these projects to be creative accomplishments (as well as lucrative investments for the Mouse House) – including, Mulan.

mulan warrior princess 2009 Mulan Live Action Movie Being Developed by Disney

The story of Mulan has, of course, been adapted to film several times (not counting Disney’s 1998 animated feature); most recently, with the Chinese epic Mulan: Rise of a Warrior (a.k.a. Mulan: Warrior Princess), in 2009. A live-action version – with all the production values afford by a big-budget Disney movie – could be quite impressive (in terms of spectacle). If the script’s up to scratch it might even provide some compelling drama, to go with the visually-lush historical action/setting.

One last thing – the live-action Mulan probably won’t be a musical, but that’s okay. It would be hard to top Donny Osmond’s “I’ll Make a Man Out of You”, anyway.

We’ll keep you updated on Mulan‘s development as more information is made available.

Source: THR

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