Mulan’s Director Reveals One Of Her Favorite Moments In New Video Ahead Of Disney+ Release

Yifei Liu as Mulan in the 2020 live-action remake
(Image credit: (Disney))
(Image credit: (Disney))

After a number of delays this year, Disney’s live-action remake of Mulan finally has a release date. It's soon, and this time it’s actually coming! So let’s get down to business: there’s a lot to be excited about the House of Mouse’s latest take on the badass princess – even if the price tag will now be a Disney+ subscription plus $30. Mulan is a large-scale martial arts flick, and the cast is seriously not messing around. The film’s director Niki Caro just revealed an especially impressive moment on set. In her words:

One of my favorite moments was shooting Donnie Yen’s martial arts skills. As Commander Tung he does a sword display in front of all of the recruits. The way he moves a sword, it moves so fast I had to shoot the sequence again in slow motion just so I could see what he was doing. He is astonishing.

Mulan having Donnie Yen on board is a huge win for the epic since he has been wielding swords for movie roles since the ‘90s in martial arts films, and having shown off his skillset in the Ip Man franchise and Rogue One: A Star Wars Story more recently. As Niki Caro tells it, some of his moves as Commander Tung were so slick that the director decided to film it again in slow motion in order for the camera to be able to keep up.

Niki Caro gushed about her Mulan cast in a new featurette Walt Disney Studios posted ahead of the film’s September release. Check out Donnie Yen’s sword skills, along with a peek at Liu Yifei’s Mulan training below:

That’s not CGI, folks: Donnie Yen really puts in the work. It’s details like this that set Mulan apart from prior Disney remakes; things that releases such as The Lion King or Beauty and the Beast couldn’t give us. Sword fights and huge battles on horseback; now this is going to be awesome. In the video, Niki Caro also teases how serious Liu Yifei's martial arts moves are thanks to her ”grueling physical assessments” that include archery, sword fighting and so forth.

Donnie Yen’s Commander Tung will showcase his mastery of the sword during a scene where he demonstrates his abilities to the soldiers. Instead of the live-action film following the 1998 film to a T, the remake is taking some creative liberties. Shang Li won’t be in the film. The character is being split into Yen’s Tung, who will serve as her mentor, and Yosan An plays Cheng Honghui, a fellow soldier who forms a relationship with Mulan.

The change was made because the filmmakers felt Mulan falling in love with her teacher would be “very uncomfortable, especially in the context of the #MeToo Movement. Plus, this storyline was not part of the original and ancient Ballad of Mulan Chinese folklore that the movie is based upon. Mulan will not be a musical either, but it will inject elements from the original’s music, such as Christina Aguilera’s continued involvement. Mulan will be available on Disney+ VOD premium on September 4.

Sarah El-Mahmoud
Staff Writer

Sarah El-Mahmoud has been with CinemaBlend since 2018 after graduating from Cal State Fullerton with a degree in Journalism. In college, she was the Managing Editor of the award-winning college paper, The Daily Titan, where she specialized in writing/editing long-form features, profiles and arts & entertainment coverage, including her first run-in with movie reporting, with a phone interview with Guillermo del Toro for Best Picture winner, The Shape of Water. Now she's into covering YA television and movies, and plenty of horror. Word webslinger. All her writing should be read in Sarah Connor’s Terminator 2 voice over.