Ming-Na Wen, the voice star of Disney’s animated version of Mulan, says she hopes to be a part of the live-action version from the studio. While Ming-Na had roles in such films as The Joy Luck Club and Street Fighter in the early 1990s, her voice role as the title character in Mulan in 1998 was the actress’ breakthrough role in Hollywood. Not only did voicing Mulan open the door roles for such TV series as NBC’s ER, The WB’s The Batman (where she voiced Detective Ellen Yin), and most recently, on ABC’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.; it also secured Ming-Na the opportunity to reprise the voice of the character in 2004’s Mulan II and in several future Disney projects to this day.
In a new interview with ET, Ming-Na says she’s not only excited for the upcoming live-action version of Mulan – about a young female warrior who disguises herself as a man to take her father’s place in the Chinese army – the 53-year-old wants to somehow be a part of it, and her fans do, too. Ming-Na says:
“I’m very excited that they want to do a live-action because they’ve done so amazingly with all of the movies — from Maleficent, to Beauty and the Beast, to Cinderella. I’m really looking forward to the live-action … I know the fans really want it and love it. And some of them even go, ‘Well, why don’t you just play Mulan?’ And I’m like, ‘Yeah, if it’s Mulan: The Later Years.'”
While she’s obviously taken herself out of consideration for playing Mulan, Ming-Na says she’s had “conversations” with Disney about taking part in the live-action film. It only makes sense, being she’s long been a part of the Disney family, including her role as S.H.I.E.L.D. Agent Melinda May. She says:
“I would love to have a part in it in some way … We’ll see — knock on wood!”
The live-action version of Mulan, which is being directed by Whale Rider helmer Niki Caro, is taking proper steps to make sure Chinese characters are featured in lead roles. And like Disney, Ming-Na echoes the sentiment that the actress who plays the legendary warrior be “Chinese in her heritage.” Ming-Na adds:
“Even though we’re Pan-Asian, it is specifically a Chinese folklore and I really think that someone with that ethnic background [would] really just add more to the story.”
With any luck, Ming-Na will be a part of the live-action version of Mulan in some capacity, even if it’s in a cameo role. And, since Caro says music will be a part of the film (contrary to earlier reports), the director will find a way to include Broadway star Lea Salonga – who provided the singing voice of Mulan in the 1998 version on such songs as “Reflection” – in the 2018 live-action film, too. Including Ming-Na and Salonga in the new Mulan would be a proper way to honor the performers for their vital roles in helping make the animated film the classic that it is today.