Mulan isn’t the only one who will bring honour to us all. Disney has released a new behind-the-scenes look at its live-action adaptation of Mulan. It shows how star Liu Yifei brought her acting and martial arts talents to the project, and how Donnie Yen was so quick with a sword he needed to be shot in slow-mo.
In the new featurette, director Niki Caro talks about the joys and challenging of turning the 1998 animated film into a live-action epic, complete with huge battles and landscapes. She said what made it easier was the dynamic cast she had in front of the camera, which features Liu as well as Gong Li, Jet Li, and Xana Tang, among others. Liu, in particular, was a welcome addition as the title character of Mulan, as her background in martial arts made her the perfect fit for the warrior who disguises herself as a man to enter the Chinese army.
However, Caro shared how one of her favourite filming moments was actually with Yen, who plays Commander Tung, leader of the Imperial Army and a mentor to Mulan. There’s a scene early on where Commander Tung is giving a sword demonstration to the new recruits, and Yen’s amazing skills were flying so fast that Caro chose to film him twice — the second time in slow-motion, just so she didn’t miss anything. He was moving that fast.
Mulan was originally scheduled to be released in March, but the novel coronavirus pandemic caused delays. It’s now heading to Disney+ premiere service on September 4, and will cost around $40 to watch at home.