When initially announced, concerns were raised that Disney may attempt to whitewash the film in some way, shape, or form. Because let’s be honest here. Hollywood doesn’t even have a decent track record as it relates to their portrayal of Asians. However, the film appears to be finding its footing, as it relates to adhering to its commitment to diversity. Per The Hollywood Reporter:
Niki Caro, who broke through with the 2002 Maori family drama Whale Rider, will direct Disney’s live-action Mulan, The Hollywood Reporter has learned.
In an industry where female-helmed tentpoles are still rare, Caro will be the second woman at the studio to direct a movie budgeted at over $100 million. (Ava DuVernay is the first, with A Wrinkle in Time.)
Caro’s most recent film, Focus’ upcoming The Zookeeper’s Wife, has been praised for its gender-inclusive set by its star, Jessica Chastain. Disney previously worked with Caro, a New Zealand native, on the 2015 cross-country drama McFarland, USA, for which she lived in central California for nearly a year to immerse herself in the Mexican-American community there.
Disney also considered other women for its woman-warrior project, including Wonder Woman’s Patty Jenkins and Michelle MacLaren (Breaking Bad, The Walking Dead, Game of Thrones). Caro’s hiring likely takes her out of the running for Captain Marvel, the studio’s first female-fronted superhero movie. THR reported last August that she was on the short list of directors for that film, along with Homeland’s Lesli Linka Glatter and Lorene Scafaria, who helmed 2012’s Seeking a Friend for the End of the World.
This is great news. Especially for those of us who were concerned about issues of diversity and whitewashing. This is a good first step in the right direction, and let’s hope more films are conscience of their responsibility to accurately reflect all cultures.