Disneys Live-Action Mulan Lands Gong Li, Jet Li (Exclusive)

Chinese stars Gong Li and Jet Li are joining Disney’s live-action version of “Mulan” opposite Donnie Yen and Liu Yifei.

The film is a remake of Disney’s 1998 animated film in which Fa Mulan, daughter of aging warrior Fa Zhou, impersonates a man to take her father’s place during a general conscription during the Han Dynasty.

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Jet Li is in final talks to play the emperor of China, who orders the mobilization of troops. Gong Li will portray the villain as a powerful witch. Chinese-Vietnamese actress Xana Tang will play Mulan’s sister.

Mulan live-action film adds Donnie Yen, Jet Li, Gong Li and Xana Tang

Niki Caro is directing the film, which also includes Donnie Yen as Mulan’s mentor, Commander Tung. Mulan will begin shooting in August in China and New Zealand.

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Chris Bender, Jason Reed, and Jake Weiner are producing the movie. The film’s release was recently pushed back by more than a year to March 27, 2020.

Jet Li, who rose to fame in Asia with appearances in film series like Shaolin Temple and Once Upon a Time in China before making his Hollywood debut in Lethal Weapon 4, will star opposite Liu Yifei (also known as Crystal Liu) as the titular Mulan, who disguises herself as a man in order to enlist in the military so her elderly father doesnt have to. Like in Disneys 1998 animated Mulan, the emperor of China Jet Li plays will “order the mobilization of troops via the conscription of one male from each household.” 

Gong Li’s career dates back to the 1987 film “Red Sorghum.” She starred in the 2016 Chinese action-fantasy “the Monkey King 2.”

Disneys Live-Action Mulan Casts Jet Li and Gong Li in Major Change from Animated Film

Jet Li’s first movie was 1982’s “Shaolin Temple.” His first role in an American film came in 1998 with “Lethan Weapon 4.”

In addition to Gong Li and Jet Li joining the cast, Chinese-Vietnamese actress Xana Tang has also been added to the roster. The New Zealand-based starlet will portray Mulans sister, a character not seen in the animated film but created specifically for the live-action refresh. Tang has appeared in the Australian series Dead Lucky and The Letdown.

Gong Li, Jet Li cast in Disneys live-action Mulan

The English-language version of the original “Mulan” featured the voices of Ming-Na Wen, Eddie Murphy, Miguel Ferrer, and BD Wong, while Jackie Chan voiced Chinese dubs of the movie. The animated film grossed $304.3 million worldwide.

Considered one of Chinas premiere actresses, Gong Li takes on a role in the new Mulan not seen in the cartoon classic. Where the 90s version featured Shan Yu, the leader of the Huns, as its primary antagonist, the live-action take will see Gongs “powerful witch” character cause Mulan the most trouble. 

“Jurassic World” and “Avatar” sequel scribes Rick Jaffa and Amanda Silver came on board in 2015 to rewrite the spec by Lauren Hynek and Elizabeth Martin.

You wan’t more Mulan casting news? You got it. The Hollywood Reporter reveals that Disney’s latest live-action remake has added action superstar Jet Li and Miami Vice‘s Gong Li to the ever-growing cast. Last night, word broke that Rogue One: A Star Wars Story actor Donnie Yen had boarded the film as well. Per THR, “Jet Li is in final talks to play the emperor of China, who orders the mobilization of troops via the conscription of one male from each household.” Gong Li, meanwhile, will play the film’s villain, “a powerful witch.” This is yet another departure from the original animated film, which featured the Hun leader Shan Yu, voiced by the late Miguel Ferrer, as the main antagonist.

Disney has seen considerable success from live-action reboots of its animated films, including “Maleficent,” “Cinderella,” “The Jungle Book,” and, most recently, “Beauty and the Beast. The studio is now shooting “Dumbo,” with Tim Burton directing and Colin Farrell starring.

Whale Rider filmmaker Niki Caro is directing the film, which was originally set for a 2018 release date before being pushed to 2020. There’s been some confusion surrounding the production. It was initially announced that Mulan would feature no songs, unlike the original animated film. Caro later clarified this by saying that while songs for the film hadn’t been officially approved yet, Disney isn’t against the idea and are open to adding songs to the film. This seems to suggest that if Mulan does end up featuring songs, they’ll be new, rather than the songs from the original film – which is kind of a bummer, because a lot of the original film’s songs are pretty great.

Disney’s upcoming live-action adaptation of their animated hit Mulan has just gained three new stars to the film. First Deadline reported yesterday Donnie Yen (Rogue One: A Star Wars Story) was cast in the movie and now The Hollywood Reporter has revealed Jet Li (The Expendables), Gong Li (Ana) and Xana Tang (Filthy Rich) have joined the film as well.

Yen, who is getting ready to film Ip Man 4, will portray Commander Tung, a mentor and teacher to Mulan as she joins the Chinese military.

Disney’s Mulan remake really is shaping up nicely – this cast is pretty stellar already. In addition to Jet Li, Gong Li and Donnie, the film stars Liu Yifei as Mulan. Mulan is based on the Chinese legend of Hua Mulan, a young woman who posed as a man to go to war in her fathers place. The 1998 film featured the voices of Ming-Na Wen, Eddie Murphy, Miguel Ferrer, and BD Wong. Here’s the trailer for the original animated film.

Jet Li is in final negotiations to portray the Emperor of China who orders one male from each household to be conscripted into the military. Mulan disguises herself as a male in order to spare her elderly father from being forced to join.

Gong Li will portray the film’s villain. In a departure from the animated film, where the villain was Shan Yu, leader of Hun army invading China, Li will instead portray a powerful witch that threatens the Empire.

In another original addition to the live-action film, Tang will portray Mulan’s sister.

Mulan is based on a Chinese legend about Hua Mulan, a young female warrior who disguises herself as a man in order to join the Chinese military, taking the place of her aging father, to protect her country from the threats they face. Disney previously adapted the legend into the 1998 animated film of the same name starring Ming-Na Wen, Eddie Murphy, B.D. Wong and Miguel Ferrer.

Mulan will be directed by Niki Caro from a script written by Lauren Hynek and Elizabeth Martin. Liu Yifei (The Chinese Widow) was chosen last fall to play the titular heroine. Production is expected to begin in August with filming in China and New Zealand for a March 27, 2020th release date.

Filed Under: Movies, News, Ricky Church Tagged With: Disney, Donnie Yen, Gong Li, Jet Li, Liu Yifei, Mulan, Niki Caro, Xana Tang

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