Following the success of The Jungle Book, Cinderella, and Alice in Wonderland, Disney has announced further classic films will receive the live-action treatment, including Beauty and the Beast, Dumbo, and Mulan.
When the latter film, based on the 1998 animation inspired by the Chinese legend of Hua Mulan, was announced, a petition was started, urging the corporation to not cast a white Mulan.
Since then, however, a blog post by an industry insider on Angry Asian Man has caused outrage, claiming that an early ‘script spec’ sees “a white merchant” become the main character.
According to the widely cited post, the script - titled The Legend of Mulan and written by Lauren Hynek and Elizabeth Martin - see’s the “30-something European trader… help the Chinese Imperial Army… because he sets eyes on Mulan.” The script has since been updated by Rick Jaffa and Amanda Silver, who both worked on Jurassic World.
Previously, The Hollywood Reporter said Disney saw the script by Hynek as Martin ‘as a jumping-off point for a more nuanced and elaborate adaptation,’ something that has been reiterated by a source to Vulture. Their source said: "The spec script was a jumping-off point for a new take on the story that draws from both the literary ballad of Mulan and Disney’s 1998 animated film.”
Hollywood whitewashing controversies
Hollywood whitewashing controversies
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2/11 Tilda Swinton cast as The Ancient One in Doctor Strange
Marvel sparked outrage when Anglo-Scottish actress Tilda Swinton was cast as Tibetan mystic The Ancient One alongside Benedict Cumberbatch in Doctor Strange
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4/11 Jake Gyllenhaal stars in Prince of Persia
The half Jewish, quarter Swedish actor was cast to play a Middle Eastern Prince in Disney's 2010 film
5/11 Rooney Mara as Tiger Lily in forthcoming film Pan
Mara was been cast in the role of American Indian Tiger Lily, sparking an online protest from angry film fans
6/11 Christian Bale plays Moses in Ridley Scott's Exodus: Gods and Kings
Ridley Scott claimed he would never cast 'Mohammed so-and-so from such-and-such a country' in a lead role in his Biblical epic, and went on to cast an entirely white cast instead
7/11 Jim Caveziel plays Jesus in Mel Gibson's The Passion of the Christ
Catholic star Mel Gibson chose to cast a Caucasian American actor in the role of Jesus for his controversial film
8/11 Micky Rooney plays a Japanese neighbour in Breakfast at Tiffany's
Who better to play Holly Golightly's Japanese neighbour IY Yunoishi than American actor Mick Rooney. At least Hollywood has come some way since 1961
9/11 Ben Affleck as Tony Mendez in Argo
Ben Affleck became the subject of a few editorials in Latin American newspapers for casting himself (an American with English, Irish, Scottish and Swiss ancestry) as a Mexican CIA operative
10/11 Jennifer Connelly plays Alicia Nash in A Beautiful Mind
Alicia Lopez-Harrison de Lardé was a naturalised US citizen from El Salvador, but was played by an actress of Jewish, Irish and Norwegian descent
11/11 Chinese actresses cast in Memoirs of a Geisha
What better way to alienate Japanese cinemagoers than to cast three Chinese actresses in the lead roles in a film about Japanese culture
However, they added: "Mulan is and will always be the lead character in the story, and all primary roles, including the love interest, are Chinese.” The studio has previously promised a "global casting search” to find a Chinese actor to play Mulan.
Mulan is based on a Chinese legend which tells the story of a young girl who disguises herself as a man and goes to war against the Huns in place of her ailing father.
Recently, a Hollywood diversity report revealed that the dire situation has barely improved over the course of a decade. Just 26.3 per cent of all characters across the top 100 films of 2015 were from underrepresented racial groups.Reuse content