Hua Mulan

(In Development)

The name of Hua Mulan has been synonymous with the word "heroine" for hundreds of years in Chinese society and culture. While Disney's animated feature in 1998 made Mulan's name known to a wider world, I'm cheering for this Chinese version of Mulan story and hoping that this film will show us a non-westernized, lively, eternal Mulan.

There is no one better than Michelle Yeoh, our modern day heroine, to truly bring this legendary heroic woman warrior to life on the silver screen.

(The title picture above is created for this website only. It may not reflect the cast or scene design of the film. The Chinese characters in the background are part of the ancient Mulan poem, calligraphed by Mi Fei.)

[May 2006] It is a sad news to hear that Michelle has abandoned plans to star as Mulan herself... I'm keeping these words and the title picture here - they have been here since four years ago - for a dream we had shared.

Mulan News: 
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(10/30/09) Jingle Ma's Mulan film, starring Vicky Zhao and Aloys Chen, is scheduled to release on November 27th in China. Posters and images can be seen at Mtime. PKU Starlight originally planned to make the film with director Stanley Tong for the international market. Eventually, they lowered the budget, changed the director, completely re-wrote the script, and focused mainly on the Chinese market.

Also Arclight Films/Easternlight Films has a version of Mulan story in pre-production, "Mulan - in 3D". Chuck Russell is listed as director and Iris Rey the writer. No cast has been attached.

(02/10/09) Beijing-based PKU Starlight International held a press conference in Beijing on Feb. 10, announcing that the production of their version of the Hua Mulan film has started. Director Jingle Ma, actress Vicky Zhao Wei, actor Chen Kun, and 11 years old Xu Jiao (CJ7) who will play the child Mulan attended the conference. The film will also star Jaycee Chan (Jackie Chan's son) and Russian singer Vitas. It will be shot mainly in Hebei province and north-west China's desert areas, and it is aiming to release in late 2009. The budget of the film was not disclosed but it is understood that it will be over $7.3m.

(01/20/09) Chinese media reported that director Jingle Ma's Hua Mulan film will start filming next month. Chinese actress Vicky Zhao Wei (Red Cliff 1 & 2, Painted Skin, Shaolin Soccer) will star as the female lead and actor and singer Aloys Chen Kun (Painted Skin, The Music Box) will be the male lead. Filming is expected to last until June at various locations including film studios in Beijing and Yunnan Province.

(11/05/08) According to "Variety", director Jingle Ma confirmed his next project will be on the legendary female warrior Hua Mulan. The film is due to begin lensing next February on a budget of US$6.45 million.

(10/29/08) Chinese language media reported that director Jingle Ma (Silver Hawk) is going to make a version of "Hua Mulna" film. The film may star Singapore singer Stefanie Sun and Hong Kong actor Louis Koo. The production is aiming to start next February. When reporters asked Ma for confirmation, he said that he cannot disclose anything due to the contract with the production company.

(10/15/08) According to "Hollywood Reporter", MoviePlus will team with China's China Film Group and Xinhua Media Entertainment to make a live version of the Mulan film (not sure if this is the same project in previous report of 12/02/07), which is currently scheduled to start next spring. The script is said to be written by debuting Canadian screenwriter Iris Rey. More details including the director can be expected to be announced next month. (report)

(08/09/08) In a recent interview, Michelle Yeoh A - Z, Michelle was asked about the Hua Mulan project ("H"). She said: "Hope one day. 'H' for hope, one day it will happen."

(12/02/07) Los Angeles-based producer MoviePlus has announced that they will co-produce a $30 million Chinese movie "Mulan" with Beijing-based PKU Starlight Group. The production is aiming to start by next March at the Hengdian World Studios in eastern China's Zhejiang province. "There's no word on casting. Chinese actresses Michelle Yeoh and Zhang Ziyi have been rumored as possible leads," reported the Hollywood Reporter. As far as I know, this Mulan project is unrelated to Wang Hui-Ling's script for Michelle (see previous update). The rumors said they may cast the Chinese pop singer Li Yuchun as Hua Mulan.

(09/07/07) Chinese media reported that a Hollywood production company recently had discussions in Shanghai with Huaying Film Co. regarding the production of Hua Mulan. Reports said that filming is aiming to start in fall of 2008, with Zhang Ziyi starring as Hua Mulan. Michelle will play an important and complicated role in the film as a Chinese princess who was sent to marry in Xiongnu, the nation that Mulan and the army were fighting against.

The script is penned by Crouching Tiger's Wang Hui-Ling, who has been developing this project for Michelle for at least the past five years. The director is going to be chosen between Hong Kong directors Johnny To (The Heroic Trio) and Tsui Hark (Peking Opera Blues), according to the reports. A decision is expected to be made in a month.

(09/05/06) In a recent interview, Chinese actress Zhang Ziyi revealed that she may appear in a Hua Mulan film. She said the production won't start for a year or two, the script is still under revision(s) and no director has been fixed. Although she did not say which Mulan project it is, I think it should be the Weinsteins' one.

(06/29/06) This picture is a photo from the Shanghai Television Festival that took place earlier this month - it is a poster of Stanley Tong's upcoming "Hua Mulan". It says: 'Movie "Hua Mulan" is Scheduled to Shoot Soon', confirming the title of Tong's film will be "Hua Mulan", in both Chinese and English. The film is planned to be shot in Yunnan, Xinjiang and Canada.

(06/29/06) These pictures ( 1  2 ) are not directly related to any of the Mulan projects we have mentioned before. They are set photos from a 40-volume historical TV series, "Hu Jia Han Yue", which is currently shooting in Hengdian, Zhejiang province, China. Hua Mulan is a sideline figure in the series. Do you recognize the girl who plays Mulan in the photos? She is Zuo Xiaoqing, 24, who was national champion in rhythmic gymnastics, now a known actress in China. Those of you who have seen Michelle's The Touch (2002) should still remember the girl, who played the teenage Yin (Michelle) in the film - yes that's her.

(06/07/06) Director Stanley Tong yesterday announced in Beijing that his version of Mulan, which was previously said to be postponed, will start filming in October in Yunan province. He said the main female lead will be a Chinese but may not be a well-experienced actress. And the male leads will include three actors, one each from mainland China, Hong Kong, and Korea. Tong said the final announcement of the cast will be made in about a month. Early on, Stanley Tong denied he had asked Zhang Ziyi to star in his film. Zhang also confirmed she had not been contacted by Tong.

A few years ago when several companies wanted to make Mulan films in China, Michelle and Thomas Chung obtained permission to use "Hua Mulan" as the planned film title. Now several years have passed, none of the planned films has been made, much less made it to screen. Stanley Tong now has obtained the Chinese rights to the "Hua Mulan" title and got authorization back in March to shoot the film in China. Tong's Mulan project will use his old crew from The Myth (starring Jackie Chan), including the scriptwriter Li Hai-shu.

(06/06/06) The main production company of the project is going to be the Weinstein Company, the movie production company launched last year and operated by former Miramax heads Harvey and Bob Weinstein. Zhang Ziyi is in negotiations to star in the Mulan role, according to "Hollywood Reporter". Some Chinese media reported filming is aiming to start next spring.

The Weinsteins have been interested in this version of the Mulan film since 4 years ago. Many Asian film fans are not unfamiliar with the name of Miramax/Weinsteins in the past, and their interests and treatments for Asian films.

It is not clear if the title of the film will remain as "Hua Mulan", or simply be "Mulan". With the Weinsteins' involvement, can we still hope to see a non-westernized version of the story of this Chinese legendary heroine?

On a side note, Stanley Tong has postponed his Mulan project and his next film will now be a World War II film.

(05/19/06) Taiwanese "UDN" reporter spoke with Michelle at Cannes about the "Variety" report on Hua Mulan. Michelle said the crew members will include Peter Pau as cinematographer and Tim Yip as the art director, both worked with Michelle on Crouching Tiger. Director is yet to be fixed.

Michelle will not portray Hua Mulan as previously planned. She said there is a possibility she may play the role of Hua Mulan's master - a skilled martial artist and a nun (like Cheng Pei-pei who played Michelle's master in Wing Chun?).

Jane's Notes:
Frankly, it is a very sad news, at least for me, that Michelle has abandoned plans to star as Mulan herself...

"There is no one better than Michelle Yeoh, our modern day heroine, to truly bring this legendary heroic woman warrior to life on the silver screen."

It was stated on the top of this page four years ago. I still truly believe so.

(05/16/06) "Variety" reported today that Michelle will not star in Hua Mulan but instead will be one of the exec producers, sharing credits with Terence Chang, John Woo's long-time producer and business partner, and David Dong, who runs "Meridian Pictures Group", a Shanghai-based company. The film budget is about $20 million and it is aimed for a late 2007 release.

If this is true...... well...... guess it is, you will not see many more updates on this Hua Mulan page since I am not interested in seeing anyone, except for Michelle herself, playing this Chinese legendary heroine. Sorry.

(03/01/06) Stanley Tong's Mulan film is aiming to start production around this October. His assistant told reporters that they had sent the script to Zhang Ziyi but she hasn't given them an answer. They are also considering a few other actresses to play the Mulan role. Tong plans to shoot the film in China and Canada. The budget of the film is about US$20 million.

(10/14/05) During her trip to Taiwan (see News of Oct 14), Michelle said that she has not, and will not give up the plan to make her own Hua Mulan. She also mentioned that Chow Yun-Fat liked Wang Hui-Ling's script very much.

(10/03/05) Director Stanley Tong said during the promotion of his new film that he's in preparation for his version of the Hua Mulan story. Entitled "The Legend of Mulan", Tong had originally invited Lucy Liu to star as Hua Mulan three years ago. Reportedly he's now aiming to get Zhang Ziyi to star as the lead. Tong said they will make both English and Chinese versions. He also told reporters that his version is not the same one as Michelle's.

(07/25/05) During the past year there have been several rounds of rumors suggesting that co-producer Thomas Chung might be trying to make Hua Mulan without Michelle's involvement. Yesterday the Taiwanese news agency "UDN" contacted the copyright owner of the Hua Mulan script, Wang Hui-Ling, who was also the main scriptwriter for Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon. Ms. Wang said she wrote the Hua Mulan script entirely for Michelle and she will totally respect Michelle's wishes in the matter.

I have not heard anywhere that Michelle has hinted she might give up Hua Mulan.

(07/12/05) Updates on the reported Mulan projects: Fans may have to wait for quite a while to see Michelle's version of Mulan, if it will ever get made. Michelle has been busy with a few other projects: Memoirs of a Geisha will be released at the end of 2005, she will also guest star in Jet Li's upcoming Huo Yuanjia, and is slated to star in Sunshine, a space mission science fiction film with British director Danny Boyle, which will begin filming this summer.

As for the other two Mulan projects: director Stanley Tong doesn't seem to have a plan to make his Mulan film anytime in the near future either. Disney made their animated Mulan II as a straight to video sequel in 2004, and the DVD came out in early 2005.

(08/16/04) On today's Empire Online (U.K.), at the end of a report on a John Woo - Chow Yun-Fat future project, it says that Chow Yun-Fat "is next up for Chinese-language actioner Hua Mulan, with Michelle Yeoh."

(08/01/04) Co-producer Thomas Chung, who's currently in Shanghai, accepted phone interviews by some Hong Kong newspapers on July 31. He assured that there is no change for the leading role of the film.

(07/22/04) China's "BigStar" reported that the production of Hua Mulan is aiming to start around the end of this year. According to the report, co-producer Thomas Chung said Michelle will definitely star in the film. But the director will not be Peter Pau. There are two candidates for the director and the position is currently under negotiation. The script has been fixed. Most likely Chow Yun-Fat will star.

(06/10/04) "Tianjin Daily" (China) reporters heard from co-producer Thomas Chung, who's in Shanghai for film and TV related business, that the filming of Hua Mulan is currently scheduled to start this winter. The snowy scenes will be important parts of the film. The producers have been keeping contact with Chow Yun-Fat and hope that he will have time around the end of the year. They also have a few other candidates for the male lead in case that the schedule would not work with Chow. Asked if Michelle will still be the female lead, Chung said: "Of course!"

(05/07/04) During a recent visit to Taiwan, Michelle said the production of Hua Mulan was not expected to start until next year. She is preparing a few other films. See News (May 7th) for more details.

(12/09/03) "Youth Times" (China) reported that the script of Hua Mulan had been re-written a few times and it was complete. Michelle loves the script but unfortunately it is too long for a film. She has been working on modifying the script.

(12/01/03) According to "Information Times" (China) reporter who interviewed Michelle at the MTV Style Awards (see News), the final version of the script of Hua Mulan is nearly completed. The male lead is still aiming for Chow Yun-Fat. However, the director may not have been fixed.

(11/10/03) It looks like none of the previously reported Mulan films will be starting soon. Stanley Tong has Past Tense scheduled for next spring, and his Time Breaker (formerly Titanium Rain) with Jackie Chan hasn't announced a starting date. Rumors said Tong wants Korean actor Won Bin for the male lead in his The Legend of Mulan but the shooting wouldn't start before next fall. As for the Korea-China's co-production Mulan film, currently no production date has been scheduled.

(10/20/03) When asked about her film Hua Mulan at the signing ceremony with Huayi (details see News, Oct. 20), Michelle told reporters that the production is expected to start in September or October next year. They will invite Chow Yun-Fat as well as a number of mainland actors.

(10/12/03) Michelle mentioned a bit about Hua Mulan in a recent interview on her Silver Hawk. See the interview at Silver Hawk news (Oct. 12).

(09/29/03) Asked about Chow Yun-Fat's participation in Hua Mulan, Michelle told reporters at HK FILMART that she is the No. 1 fan of Chow Yun-Fat and of course she hopes he could co-star with her. She had talked to Chow before. Since now the production date hasn't been fixed, it's not known if Chow's schedule would fit.

(06/30/03) "Tianjin Daily" reporters heard from line producer Liu Er-Dong that it is not certain whether Chow Yun-Fat can still play the general in the film since the production date has been postponed by half year until next February. Chow Yun-Fat may have other film(s) scheduled for next spring.

(06/20/03) Mulan rides again - a SCMP article which talks about 4 versions of Mulan films in development: Michelle's Hua Mulan, Stanley Tong's The Legend of Mulan, Chinese-Korean co-produced Mulan (note that their using Mulan as the film title has been denied by Chinese authority. It is expected they will have to come up with another title when the production begins), and, a Disney planned Mulan II. It looks like there will be much discussion about this Chinese ancient figure in the year 2004!

(06/05/03) Update on the Korea-China's Mulan film: "Apple Daily" (Hong Kong) reported that Korean actress Jeon Ji Hyun (My Sassy Girl) had signed on the project to play the Mulan role. Shooting is scheduled to begin in October and the film is due to have a 2004 Christmas release. The film's budget is about US$8 million and it will be mainly shot in mainland China. The male lead of the film hasn't been fixed.

(06/03/03) According to "Jiangnan Metro" (China), line producer Liu Er-Dong said the starting date of the production of Hua Mulan would be postponed until next February. Because of the SARS outbreak in China, the pre-production of the film, including the set construction at various locations, had to be suspended. Although SARS in China is gradually getting under control, the fight against SARS is still far from over. Certain scenes in the film, such as a huge battle involving hundreds of horses in the grasslands, need to be filmed in summer time. However, the current situation makes it impossible to get all the preparation done in time and start shooting this summer. Currently filming is scheduled to commence next February. The five-month shooting will cover both winter and summer seasons. Pre-production is to be resumed this November.

(05/15/03) According to "The Hollywood Reporter" and "Screen Daily" (article links in News), the production date of Hua Mulan is set for August 22nd. The film will include a major battle scene - a re-enactment of a battle between the Han Chinese and the invading Turks - featuring more than 1,000 extras and 300 horses. Korea Pictures has already acquired the Korean rights to the film and Mongkol has bought the rights for Thailand.

The planned reunion of Michelle and Chow Yun-Fat is one of the exciting elements in this historical epic. "I'm absolutely thrilled to be involved in a project that brings these two icons together again," said co-producer Thomas Chung.

(05/14/03) Report from Hong Kong: co-producer Thomas Chung announced that Chow Yun-Fat had agreed to star in Hua Mulan. On a telephone interview of May 14th, Chow told reporters that he would go to Beijing in August for the film shooting. The film will be shot in Mandarin.

(05/07/03) Yesterday "Jiangnan Metro" (China) reporters talked on the phone with Liu Er-Dong, the line producer of Hua Mulan, who's now resting at his Beijing home. Mr. Liu said the location scouting was completed. However, the production date, originally planned for mid-August, may be indefinitely postponed until SARS in China gets under control.

(04/18/03) After the location scouting in Qinghai, Ningxia, Gansu, and Xinchang (Zhejiang), the Hua Mulan team went to Hengdian (Zhejiang province) on April 17th. Line producer Liu Er-Dong said they would go to Jiangxi province - to Wuyuan and Lushan Mountain - for the next two days. Then the team will move to Beijing, which will be the last stop for the location scouting.

In a phone interview with Taiwanese reporters for his new release, Bulletproof Monk, Chow Yun-Fat admitted that he had met with Peter Pau, Michelle, and Thomas Chung for Hua Mulan. Filming work is expected to start at the middle of August. Chow Yun-Fat said he was looking forward to being Mark (his famous role - the which he essayed in A Better Tomorrow (1986)) of Sui Dynasty. In another interview, art director cum costume designer Tim Yip said that they were going to try various character designs on Chow Yun-Fat, including beard of different lengths.

(04/14/03) The Chinese media reported that a team of Hua Mulan crew members, including director Peter Pau, art director Tim Yip, action director Corey Yuen, and line producer Liu Er-Dong, were in Xinchang (Zhejiang province, southern China) conducting some location scouting for the film on April 12th. They had been in northwestern China - Ningxia, Gansu, Qinghai provinces, and next will go to Hengdian (Zhejiang province), Wuyuan (Jiangxi province) and Lushan Mountain. The location scouting is expected to be completed this month. A Xinchang tour agent told reporters this was the second time Hua Mulan team had been to Xinchang. According to Liu Er-Dong, who was also the line producer for The Touch and Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, shooting in Xinchang will be mainly taken place during the winter. There will be more than 400 crew members and 80 vehicles for the shooting, which is scheduled to take place between August and next January.

Note on other Mulan films: there were rumors saying director Zhang Yimou has been tapped to direct the Korean-Chinese Mulan film. Recently a spokesman from Zhang Yimou's company said that the Korean company did contact with Zhang earlier this year but he would not direct it. Instead, he's preparing another Wuxia film after Hero.

(04/11/03) Taiwanese reporters interviewed Tim Yip. The art director and costume designer of Hua Mulan had just returned from Yinchuan (Ningxia province, where a section of the Yellow River lies), where he and others had been doing location scouting for the film. Tim Yip also has been working on the film design. According to him, the film will have a natural and realistic style. He additionally reported that the Hua Mulan people had invited some scholars and historians for consulting. Yip further stated that the film's vast battle scenes would be much bigger than those in Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon. There might be some CGI enhanced battle scenes, but 90% of them would be real. As for costume and character designs, Tim Yip said that more than 10,000 costumes would be needed. He would like to design Michelle's character - while in armor - in a way that makes it more feminine than might be expected, while that for Chow Yun-Fat, the male lead, will be comparatively less modern. Note that there have been reports that Chow Yun-Fat may not be able to star due to scheduling conflicts. But according to Tim Yip, the male lead is Chow. More than half of the main cast and crew are from Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon. "Only Ang Lee is missing," said Tim Yip.

Tim Yip also told reporters that in future he will work on the Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon prequel, which is currently (still) in the script writing stage.

Another note on Stanley Tong's The Legend of Mulan: recently Tong said that he would make Jackie Chan's Titanium Rain (beginning in July) before his Mulan film.

(03/30/03) Michelle's Silver Hawk (formerly Masked Crusader) started shooting on March 28th. But Hua Mulan has not been forgotten. Co-producer Thomas Chung told reporters that some crew members are currently in northern China doing location scouting. Filming is scheduled to commence in August (Silver Hawk is expected to wrap by July). There will be four or five Filming locations in China which include sections of northeastern China, Xinjiang, and Gansu. The editor of the film will be William Chang, who's a famous Hong Kong art director/costume designer and who also was the editor of In the Mood for Love, Ashes of Time, Chungking Express, etc..

Update on Stanley Tong's The Legend of Mulan: it's not known if the female lead has been fixed. Currently Stanley Tong is focusing more on the preparation of Jackie Chan's Titanium Rain.

(02/18/03) Producer Thomas Chung talked to reporters about Hua Mulan when he was in Shanghai. The film is currently in the pre-production stage. The main cast and crew are fixed except for the male lead. Chow Yun-Fat is unlikely to star due to schedule conflict. "Love relationship makes an important part of the film. The male lead has to be internationally known, have good acting skills and looks, and have screen chemistry with Michelle," said Chung.

The script is written by Wang Hui-Ling, one of the scriptwriters for Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon. Ms. Wang started working on the script for Hua Mulan as early as March 2001. She spent about 9 months doing research on the subject - going through history books and related articles. The script had been re-written 7 times and the producers are very satisfied with the final version. "The main theme is love - of people, family, and country," said Thomas Chung, "It has one-to-one fights as well as large scale war battles. It has drama. It will be the biggest challenge Michelle ever faces."

Corey Yuen and Tim Yip will be among the crew members, as well as Po Chu Chui (associate producer of Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon). Reportedly crew members have been doing location scouting in Qinghai and Zhejiang. The production will begin on Hua Mulan after the end of that for Masked Crusader.

(02/16/03) In a recent interview with Tim Yip, Taiwanese reporters asked him about the art/costume design for Michelle's upcoming Hua Mulan. Tim Yip said he had started preparation and had been collecting materials. It is a classical costume film, and it has many large-scale war scenes. Some research on the historical background needs to be done. In March, he will go with other members of the Hua Mulan team to northwestern China, including Qinghai and Shaanxi, for location scouting. Filming is scheduled to begin at the end of June or early July.

(01/13/03) Update on Stanley Tong's The Legend of Mulan: some Hong Kong reporters interviewed Stanley Tong at a public event. Tong told the reporters that the shooting was planned to begin in March and it would be interrupted when Jackie Chan's Titanium Rain starts. He said the female lead for the film had been fixed and a contract would be signed at the end of this month. Asked if it's Lucy Liu or Zhang Ziyi, Tong said it's neither of them. He did not disclose the name but said that she's a known American Chinese actress. The Legend of Mulan will be shot in Jiangsu, Shanghai and northeastern China, on a budget about $25 million.

(01/09/03) According to "Oriental Daily" (Hong Kong), the candidates for the male lead of Michelle's Hua Mulan are Chow Yun-Fat and Tony Leung Chiu Wai (Butterfly & Sword, In the Mood For Love, Hero). The film company is contacting with them to see if their schedules would fit. About the crew: besides the director Peter Pau, reportedly the action director for Hua Mulan will be Corey Yuen, whose full directorial credits include Michelle's Yes Madam in 1985. The art director will be the Oscar winner for Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, Tim Yip.

(12/14/02) In a recent interview (see News, Dec. 13, for more details), Michelle talked about her film plans for the upcoming year. The shooting of Masked Crusader is expected to begin in February. Michelle will produce Jiang Shi in April. Hua Mulan is planned to go in production during the second half of the year.

(12/01/02) China's "Yangtse Evening Post" has a conflicting report with the previous Taiwan's "Da Cheng" report on Stanley Tong's The Legend of Mulan. It says that Tong is planning to start The Legend of Mulan next February. Stanley Tong said the story would be very close to what was recorded in history books. He refused to reveal whether Lucy Liu would be the female lead of the film. Shooting of Jackie Chan's Titanium Rain is scheduled to begin in June and may go on at the same time as his Mulan film. Tong hopes to wrap both films by the end of 2003.

A representative from Shanghai Film Studios said the script of the Korean company's Mulan film has not been fixed, although the original script was passed by the Chinese authorities.

Tianjin Film Studio, Michelle's Chinese collaborator for The Touch and the future Hua Mulan, said Michelle would make Masked Crusader first and that there was no further information on the shooting schedule for Hua Mulan at this moment.

(11/26/02) "Da Cheng" (Taiwan) news: Stanley Tong's The Legend of Mulan will be postponed due to the problems with the script and the working schedule of Lucy Liu. Tong will first shoot Jackie Chan's Titanium Rain. Work on it is expected to commence sometime next spring.

(11/06/02) According to a "Variety" report last week, Stanley Tong's $30 million The Legend of Mulan will start shooting next February. "The English-language drama will be a period piece with Americans in the leading roles." After his Mulan film, Tong will direct Jackie Chan's Titanium Rain, a $40 million film that begins shooting in June.

(10/29/02) "The Hollywood Reporter" on Hua Mulan: The six-month principal shoot for the $25 million-$35 million film is scheduled to start mid-2003. It is scheduled for a summer 2004 release.

Michelle is going to make another action film, Masked Crusader, during the preparation of Hua Mulan. For more details see News (Oct 29).

(10/17/02) According to a recent report from "Nanfang Daily" (China), Hua Mulan is expected to start shooting next spring and hit screens during summer 2004.

(09/26/02) Yesterday's "Dayoo" (China) has a report on a spokesman from China Film Co-production Corporation speaking of the three Mulan projects: "These three Mulan films will be co-productions of Michelle Yeoh, Stanley Tong, and a Korean company with Tianjin Film Studio, China Film Group Corporation, and Shanghai Film Studios respectively. After they submitted the scripts, we informed them of the clashing situation. But all three parties firmly insisted on going ahead with their projects. We looked at the submitted scripts carefully. Although all three scripts are based on the same Mulan legend, the portrayal of the characters and the angles of the story telling are very different. In particular, Michelle Yeoh's script, which was written by Wang Hui-Ling, a scriptwriter of Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, has a very exquisite description of feelings and shows the hand of a master."

This source also told the reporters the titles of the three submitted scripts. Michelle's script is entitled "Hua Mulan". Stanley Tong's is "The Legend of Mulan". And the Korean/Shanghai one is simply called "Mulan". Earlier reports said that Michelle's film title "Hua Mulan" had been approved. But some of the Mulan films may have to change the title. One of them will be given "Mulan in Troubled Times" as a working title and it may be changed again at the time of release.

In an interview with Shanghai Film Studios, the reporters were told that their script was written by Korean. The style is very similar to Musa. The story and characters are bit wild and violent. The character of the male lead is very interesting - he was a playboy but later became a hero on the battle field. The Korean company is currently working with Shanghai Film Studios for the preparation of the film. The Korean company wanted Zhang Ziyi to play Hua Mulan and Shanghai Film Studios have been in talks with Zhang.

Stanley Tong's film will be shot in English and there will be more emphasis on actions. Taiwanese news reports had Tong in L.A. earlier this month to meet with Lucy Liu and Dwayne 'The Rock' Johnson (The Scorpion King). He hopes to get Lucy Liu to play Hua Mulan and The Rock to play the general of an opposing army. A "DaCheng" (Taiwan) reporter had a telephone interview with Stanley Tong a couple of days ago, who was in Shaanxi (northwest of China) doing the location scouting. Tong said both Lucy Liu and The Rock showed strong interests in the project and they are trying to see if their schedules would fit. If things go well, the production might begin as early as October, in Shaanxi.

(09/16/02) According to"China Times" (Taiwan), through the costume designer William Chang, Michelle was contacting the Taiwanese director Yang Pei-Pei, who directed the (Taiwanese) Chinese TV series "Hua Mulan" in 1999, to buy a costume which was used in the series. The costume is a suit of armor made of thick and heavy leather material. It was hand-sewn and costs more than 100,000 Taiwan dollars (about US$2,900). Yang Pei-Pei said it was the most expensive costume she had ever used in her productions. Michelle is planning to wear this costume when she makes a teaser poster for her Hua Mulan film.

It is interesting that according to my research, there had been no modern style movie on Hua Mulan subject made in China, Hong Kong, or Taiwan. Thus far, there have been only some Chinese opera style movies (that were filmed using opera performances), from several decades ago. The most recent work is Yang Pei-Pei's 48 episode TV series which starred Hong Kong actress Anita Yuen as Hua Mulan.

Work is expected to begin on Michelle's Hua Mulan early next year, right after the Chinese New Year. The film will depict the epic journey of the legendary young woman who took her father's place and led her country into battle.

The script is written by Wang Hui-Ling, one of the scriptwriters for Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon. The first draft was completed in March. An enhanced version was sent to China Film Co-production Corporation over the summer and the script has been approved by the authorities. Filming will take place in China, and the scenes that will be shot include battles on the frozen Yellow River and in snow covered mountains.

The budget of the film is about US$30 millions. It's a bigger and more challenging film than The Touch. Michelle herself has said that "Mulan will be the best, the meatiest and most challenging role on all levels".

The news of Michelle portraying Hua Mulan came out as early as July 2001 and got confirmed at December 2001. I was totally thrilled. I've been waiting for one day to see Michelle as Hua Mulan since the day that I watched Disney's animated Mulan back in June 1998. It looks like my dream is finally going to come true!

About Hua Mulan
( page created: 09/16/02,   last modified: 10/30/09 )