“We spent a year looking for the protagonist”
Mulán, the “live action” of the Disney classic directed by Niki Caro (Whale rider, In the Land of Men) is one of the most anticipated films of the year and has also become one of the most controversial due to the decision of the production company to skip the cinemas and premiere it directly on its digital platform (with an additional cost that in Spain will be 21.99 Euros). Without entering into controversies about prices and distribution, we are going to offer you the interview that the New Zealand director gave us during her visit to Spain, to promote the film.
“Our Mulan is a real woman, not a superhero,” the director told us. And the film tells the journey of that young girl to become a soldier, warrior, heroine and legend. We wanted to make a realistic film and I think there is no better time than now to tell this story, because it is so inspiring.
In fact, this film is not based on the Disney movie but on the original Chinese legend, dating from the 6th century and that tells how a young woman replaces her elderly father in the army, because she knows that he is not going to survive, to what you have to pass yourself off as a man.
Niki assures that this version “is very different from the animated film. It is something very intimate but, at the same time, very epic and exciting ”. Although she confesses that there are “tributes to certain iconic scenes from the animated film.” She also ensures that it is the “story of a warrior” and that is why there will be no magic dragons or songs (except for one of the mythical themes of the original film) because “in war there are no songs.”
Niki confesses that finding the actress to play Mulán was not an easy task: “Mulán is a very special character and we wanted an actress just as special, who would be 100% involved. She had to be a warrior of mind and spirit and also had to speak perfect English, sing, ride a horse, fight…. ”
That is why we spent more than a year looking for it – he adds -. Until Yifei Liu appeared, who showed us that he was capable of doing all that. I remember that after passing the casting we put her through a very tough training and she never complained. In the first scene we were about 350 people and when she appeared we were all speechless, we realized that we had found our warrior. We were all in love with her or wanted to be like her. ”
“In addition,” adds the director, “she is an impressive interpreter.” She is also very strong, very intelligent, but at the same time very kind. And most importantly: She has the spirit of a warrior. That spirit and that focus on is her greatest contribution to the film. She set the bar so high for everyone else that we all grew from her performance. Because she carries the full weight of the movie. I’ve even done most of the action scenes, riding a horse, fighting, shooting the bow … “