It's not uncommon for Hollywood studios to cast non-Asian actors in Asian roles (no matter how wrong it is), but Disney plans to put that to an end with their live-action retelling of "Mulan."
Despite initial reports that the remake would involve a white male lead, a source tells Vulture Disney execs are looking for a Chinese cast.
"Mulan is and will always be the lead character in the story, and all primary roles, including the love interest, are Chinese," said the source. The statement comes in response to the hashtag #MakeMulanRight on Twitter.
Disney, goddammit, I am a fan and I stick up for you all the time but if you have a white lead in Mulan I will put Mickey in a glue trap.
— GARGOYLE SIMONE (@GailSimone) October 10, 2016
The Only White I Should Be Seeing In Mulan Is The Snow And The Rice
— bone man (@mckirktxt) October 10, 2016
It's so sad that w live action Mulan, a movie about CHINESE people in CHINA, we have to worry and fight about having Chinese actors in it
— ensaymada ✿ (@babylychee_) October 11, 2016
Mulan is unequivocally the best princess movie Disney has ever made & I'm going to be so mad if they add a white boy in there for no reason
— MeGHOUL MacKORPSE🎃 (@mmmegan) October 10, 2016
The story of "Mulan" is based on a legendary Chinese woman warrior from the sixth century poem "The Ballad of Mulan." In the 1998 version of the film, Mulan singlehandedly saves China by concealing her identity and fighting for her country as a man. During the process she meets and falls in love with an army officer who discovered her secret.
However, a report published on the blog Angry Asian Man alleged an early draft of the script added a white European trader who sees Mulan, falls in love with her, fights to protect her and ultimately saves the empire in her honour.
While Disney now insists there is no white lead in the film, Asian actor Joel de la Fuente confirms "The Legend of Mulan" draft did indeed include a character described as a European trader.
@angryasianman I can back you up on what you’re saying. I confirm everything you said about that draft.
— Joel de la Fuente (@joeldelafuente) October 10, 2016
Sources now tell Vanity Fair the draft was a spec script and will not serve as the official script. Disney executives also confirmed to The Hollywood Reporter that they are "launching a global casting search for a Chinese actress to play Mulan."
With the exception of a few characters, the 1998 cartoon adaptation of "Mulan" was voiced by a mainly Asian cast including Ming-Na Wen and BD Wong. Actor Jackie Chan also lent his voice for Chinese dubs of the film, Variety reports.
The remake is scheduled to hit theatres on November 2, 2018.