UPDATE: The picture has since been removed. The original article follows.
Disney is continuing its hot streak of cranking out live-action adaptations of their classic animated films with Mulan, and director Niki Caro has shared the very first behind the scenes photo from the upcoming film. Mulan, the story of a young woman who takes her father's place in the Chinese army by masquerading as a man, is finally set to be released in March 2020, after previously being set to premiere in November 2018. Liu Yifei is set to star as the titular character, after an extensive casting process that spanned five continents ensued in search of the perfect Chinese actress to portray the heroine.
Caro is the second woman ever hired by Disney to direct a movie with a budget of over $100 million (the first being Ava DuVernay for A Wrinkle in Time), and she has her work cut out for her. Mulan has been under the microscope since the news broke that Disney was remaking it, with calls for the studio to not whitewash the film and only cast Chinese actors for all the primary roles. This has resulted in a truly all-star cast, with names like Donnie Yen, Jason Scott Lee, and even Jet Li (as the Emperor himself) joining the film.
Caro shared a photo on Instagram of the first day on set for Mulan, giving fans the first behind the scenes look at the live-action remake. The photo shows what appears to be Yifei in full costume and makeup, standing in front of a cherry blossom tree while surrounded by green screen. Caro posted the word "Reflections" in the caption, and the photo does look like it's set in Mulan's home, where she sings the song "Reflection" in the original 1998 animated film. The pond on the set is visibly reflecting both the tree and Mulan herself. Also, Deadline has revealed the most recent additions to the aforementioned all-star cast are Jimmy Wong and Doua Moua, who have been given the roles of Ling and Po, respectively.
The green screen will presumably be used to fill in the beautiful scenery of China, and this image shows that Mulan is set to contain plenty of computer imagery. A large budget is needed for the action-heavy adaptation, especially if Disney plans on remaking the battle against the Hun army in the snowy mountains, which is arguably the most iconic scene from the original. Disney's live-action adaptations have been milestones for visual effects, perhaps the most noteworthy being the incredibly realistic animal characters found in 2016's The Jungle Book. Mulan looks to be no exception.
Mulan is one of Disney's most beloved films to come out of their "Renaissance" era, so the live-action adaptation has a lot to live up to. That said, the film has a critically acclaimed director at the helm, as well as an impressive ensemble cast. Disney's live-action remakes have become some of the highest-grossing films of all time, and after this first look at how beautiful Mulan is looking, fans can rest easy knowing that this is likely to end up another smash hit.
- Mulan (2020) release date: Mar 27, 2020