Walt Disney Pictures have finally found the director it wants to make the live action Mulan, just the latest attempt by the Mouse House to convert its cartoon catalogue. News arrives via The Hollywood Reporter that Niki Caro (Whale Rider) has taken the job.
The new take on the story of the legendary warrior woman who disguises herself as a man to take her aged father's place in the army has been in the works for a while now, and faces competition from a Sony Pictures project. Disney, acutely aware of cultural sensitivity about the film (especially when the original spec was criticised for adding in several white characters including a male lead who seemed to have more of the focus than Mulan herself) has been working with Chinese cultural consultants and hired Hong Kong-based producer William Kong (Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon).
Though it originally approached both Ang Lee (Life Of Pi) and Jiang Wen (Rogue One: A Star Wars Story) – also an award winning filmmaker when is not busy killing Imperial Stormtroopers – the studio then began looking for a female director, including a short list of Patty Jenkins (Monster), Michelle MacLaren (Breaking Bad) and Leslie Linka Glatter (Now And Then), with Caro winning out and becoming only the second woman to direct a Disney film costing more than $100 million (after Ava DuVernay).
Caro's next film to see screens will be true life tale The Zookeeper's Wife, which will be out on 5 May this year.