Ha Mulan has found her mentor. Top Hong Kong action star Donnie Yen is the latest actor to join Disney's live-action Mulan movie. According to Deadline, Yen will play Commander Tung, a teacher to the title character.
It’s the second Disney project for Yen after he played the blind warrior Chirrut Îmwe in Rogue One: A Star Wars Story (2016). Known for his extensive martial arts skills in his native films, Yen also recently played tough guy Xiang in xXx: Return of Xander Cage (2017).
Last November, it was announced that Chinese actress Yifei Liu would be taking the title role, after a yearlong search that saw almost 1,000 hopefuls try out to play Ha Mulan. U.S. audiences may be familiar with the star from her appearance in The Forbidden Kingdom (2008) with Jackie Chan and Jet Li, and Outcast (2014) with Nicolas Cage and Hayden Christensen.
Mulan is the latest live-action film from Disney, following last year's huge box office smash Beauty and the Beast (2017), as well as The Jungle Book (2016) and Maleficent (2014). It’s being helmed by Niki Caro (Whale Rider, McFarland, USA) making her the second female director hired by Disney to take charge of a $100 million-plus budgeted movie, after Ava DuVernay’s A Wrinkle in Time (2018).
The project is also being steered by executive producer Bill Kong, who is one of the most influential producers in China, with films including Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon (2000), Hero (2004), and Monster Hunt (2015) under his belt.
With Yen's track record for martial arts and skilled action sequences, it certainly feels as though the movie is planning to commit to a gritty portrayal of the Chinese tale, and we're extremely excited about that.
Mulan is currently slated for a 2019 release.