The Oscar-Winning Filmmaker Who Passed On Disney’s Live-Action Mulan


Disney's live-action Mulan was recently given a release date for two years from now, yet the project has already become one of the most talked about films in recent weeks. However, at least one major director wasn't interested. The search is on for both a star and a director and Disney would reportedly like somebody Asian to take the director's chair for their Chinese lead. Ang Lee has already been asked to take the job, but he decided to pass.

Ang Lee seems like a solid choice to direct a live-action Mulan. The two-time Academy Award winner for Best Director certainly has the reputation that you'd want to attach to a major film. In addition, his recent films like Life of Pi and Billy Lynn's Halftime Walk have been movies that focused heavily on technical achievement, something that would likely go well with Disney's attempt to bring another animated fairy tale to life. The Hollywood Reporter does not mention any reason why Ang Lee turned Mulan down, simply that he was approached but said no.

Mulan has been dealing with its share of controversy following the discovery that the script Disney purchased to base their new film on, was actually centered on a character other than Mulan. Fans were irate that the studio would apparently turn one of their most popular films into a simple love story between Mulan and a white guy, who was actually the protagonist of the film. However, sources have now claimed that the script was only meant as a starting point and that Mulan will lead the film, and none of the major characters are not Chinese. Rick Jaffa and Amanda Silver from Jurassic World have been brought in to handle the rewrites.

The project is reportedly being shopped around to other directors, although no names are being mentioned. There are certainly some other names, both high and low profile, that Disney could approach. James Wan and Justin Lin both come to mind fairly quickly, although, both of them have been in very high demand and would seem to have their plates full for the next couple of years. Even if one of them was interested in directing Mulan it wouldn't seem that the scheduling would work. Lin is currently set to direct a Hot Wheels movie, while Wan is handling Aquaman for Warner Bros. Both of those films are looking at 2018 release dates as well, so juggling two films would be tough, if not impossible.

There is one other potential hurdle to Disney finding their director. Sony is also working on their own production of Mulan. While the Sony version likely wouldn't come out for years after Disney, the word is they are also looking for their director, and anybody that Sony signs would seem to be off-limits to Disney. Who would you suggest to direct Mulan? Let us know your thoughts below.

Dirk Libbey
Content Producer/Theme Park Beat

CinemaBlend’s resident theme park junkie and amateur Disney historian, Dirk began writing for CinemaBlend as a freelancer in 2015 before joining the site full-time in 2018. He has previously held positions as a Staff Writer and Games Editor, but has more recently transformed his true passion into his job as the head of the site's Theme Park section. He has previously done freelance work for various gaming and technology sites. Prior to starting his second career as a writer he worked for 12 years in sales for various companies within the consumer electronics industry. He has a degree in political science from the University of California, Davis.  Is an armchair Imagineer, Epcot Stan, Future Club 33 Member.