And the story begins with a hashtag (as most news does these days). #MakeMulanRight. This hashtag emerged on Twitter about a week and half ago and launched a serious debate about casting in Hollywood. Let me give you some background.
Disney recently released a list of upcoming live action films, similar to Cinderella and The Jungle Book, which are slated to be produced in the next couple of years. On this list of films, accompanying The Little Mermaid and The Lion King (excuse me while I jump for joy and cry my heart out at the same time) is Mulan. Mulan is going to be one of the first to come out, as well, with a release date scheduled for 2018.
Mulan is a favourite Disney movie of mine. The music, the story, the general kick-ass heroine that is Mulan. Not many downsides for me. I also consider Mulan to be one of the best Disney heroines. Not only is her story not about pursuing love, it's about challenging society and standing up for what you believe in and those that you love. How then did this film start social media uproar? It's all about casting.
Apparently, an unreliable website published that Disney was changing the plot of the movie entirely. Instead of a young woman saving China, the story was going to be about a European sailor who saves Mulan and wins her heart. Ummm, not exactly the story I grew up with. The incident sent the Internet into madness and rightly so.
It is more than extremely important that Mulan feature Asian actors. The cultural significance of this story goes way beyond the extent of Disney. Being a traditional Chinese story, there would be and should be a noticeable and significant contribution from Asian writers, actors, etc. To even think that there could be debate over this astounds me!
Honestly, if the story were changed and no Asian actors were involved I would ABSOLUTELY NOT see this film. The choice is simple in my eyes: #MakeMulanRight. However, we must give Disney the benefit of the doubt. Not only is the story I told you completely false, Disney has not released any information surrounding actors considered for the roles and nothing beyond that this film is being made has been released to the public. So until such announcements have been made, I hold onto faith that Disney will #MakeMulanRight.