Niki Caro to direct live-action Mulan film

Niki Caro to direct live-action Mulan film

Niki Caro to direct live-action Mulan film

The Hollywood Reporter has now announced Niki Caro will direct the project, best-known for her soaring tale of a fearless, defiant Māori girl in 2002's Whale Rider; her latest, The Zookeeper's Wife, stars Jessica Chastain as the real-life woman who helped save many lives during World War II by hiding individuals within the animal cages.

The animated Mulan, released by Disney in 1998, adapted the ancient Chinese legend of Hua Mulan, a female warrior who disguises herself as a man in order to take the place of her aging father in the military.

In addition, Disney has also brought in Hong Kong mega-producer Bill Kong to serve as executive producer for the film. She most recently directed "The Zookeeper's Wife", starring Jessica Chastain. In general, Disney will be working extensively alongside Chinese consultants and searching for much of the film's cast in mainland China.

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Caro beat out several other prominent female filmmakers for the job, including Patty Jenkins (Wonder Woman) and Michelle MacLaren (Game of Thrones). Niki Caro worked with Disney in the past with "McFarland, USA". Caro had previously been included on the studio's short list alongside Lesli Linka Glatter (the principle director on Homeland) and Lorene Scafaria (Nick & Norah's Infinite Playlist, The Meddler), though The Hollywood Reporter suggests this new assignment likely takes Caro out of the running for the 2019 film. In so doing, Caro will make history, becoming only the second woman in the studio's history (and third in all) to direct a film with a budget over $100 million.

The new Mulan is set for release on November 2, 2018, 20 years after Disney's animated version hit theaters. Hence, the Tuesday announcement that Niki Caro has been hired to direct the remake coming with extra scrutiny. But Disney allegedly is set to start looking for a Chinese actress to portray Mulan quickly. The new "Mulan" features a script originally penned by Elizabeth Martin and Lauren Hynek, and rewritten by Rick Jaffa and Amanda Silver.

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