Posted 2020/02/26 1453 0

Mulan 2020 Producer Says All Whitewashing Rumors Were False

Mulan 2020 movie producer Jason Reed says the whitewashing rumors that emerged during the casting phase of the Disney film were never true.

Disney’s Mulan live-action movie producer Jason Reed says the whitewashing rumors that emerged during the casting phase of the film were never true. This version of Mulan follows a different path than the Disney live-action remakes that have been released so far. While Lion King, Beauty and the Beast and Aladdin made an effort to stay true to the original animated films, Mulan strives to honor the original Chinese legend. The film’s creative team decided to scrap the musical numbers and kooky animal sidekick Mushu and are focusing on the war aspects and cultural roots. This has put Mulan in a category of its own as the first Disney live-action remake to receive a PG 13 rating.

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Mulan has an immense amount of pressure to perform well. The film has the most expensive Disney live-action remake budget at $200 million. While producers were hoping for the support of the Chinese market, the film may have to postpone its March 27th premiere due to the coronavirus. Other American projects like James Bond movie No Time to Die, Sonic the Hedgehog and Birds of Prey have had to postpone their China premieres. Mulan lead actress Liu Yifei hails from Wuhan, the origin city of the coronavirus. While she left the city when she was 10, the deficit caused from the virus is devastating to her and she hopes that the virus will be eradicated soon.

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Rumors surrounding the casting of the film surfaced before Yifei was selected to play Mulan. It began circulating that Disney was considering white talent for the lead role after white director Niki Caro was hired. Producer Reed explained to THR that people were claiming Disney was casting a white male lead or Jennifer Lawrence to play Mulan. A petition titled “Tell Disney You Don’t Want a Whitewashed Mulan!” circulated the internet and received around 110,000 signatures. The rumors were believable at the time since the whitewashing of minority roles has happened in Hollywood for decades. However, Reed very adamantly stated it was never Disney’s intent to cast a white actor to play Mulan.

This is the first time I’ve been on a big touchstone movie with the internet what it is today. And I had a Google alert set, so I’d see these things, ‘Oh, there was originally a white male lead, or they’re casting Jennifer Lawrence,’ and they were all just made up.

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Caro and the production team went through great lengths to cast a Chinese actress who met the qualifications of the role. They were very selective when it came to finding an actress who is fluent in English and met the physical demands for the film’s martial arts stunts and emotional demands of the role. After one unsuccessful round of casting that started in 2016, Caro began a second round of casting with a clean slate. That’s when she found Yifei, who was not available during the first round of casting due to another acting gig.

Disney is making a bold move breaking the mold of their traditional live-action form. The previous live-action movies seem like a lazy cash grab to some. Revamping a Disney classic in this way is refreshing and for Mulan, this is the appropriate direction. This remake is Disney’s opportunity to pay homage to the origin story that is so significant to Chinese culture. It also gives Disney the chance to right some of its previous diversity injustices. Hopefully Mulan will be able to thrive despite China’s currently suffering film industry.

More: Mulan 2020: Biggest Changes To The Original (So Far)

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