Mulan (1998) - News Poster

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I’m an Asian American Actor Who Went to China Before Hollywood Would Cast Me as a Lead (Guest Blog)

Producing and starring in AMC’s “Into the Badlands” is a professional experience that I never thought I would see. It’s not just because drama and martial arts done together with a diverse cast is an American television first. Or because joining its cast was an unexpected homecoming for me.

For the 20 years before “Into the Badlands,” I spent my career working largely in Hong Kong and China. In 1997, while traveling in Hong Kong just after graduating from the University of Oregon with a degree in architecture, I was spotted by director Yonfan. He asked me to take the lead role in his film “Bishonen.” Without either acting experience or a full grasp of the Cantonese language (Shanghai dialect was spoken at home), I turned down the role at first. He relentlessly pressed me to change my mind, and after a month I gave in.

It was a decision that changed my life and put me on a path that I never dared dream for myself. Two weeks after the film wrapped, I was on the set of my second film. Within two years I had done six films. By 2000, I was playing lead roles in everything from romantic comedies to big-budget action films. Now, 70 films later, my work has been embraced all over Chinese-speaking Asia.

Would any of this happened to me if I’d decided to start a career in acting at home? I really don’t think so.

Also Read: 'Into the Badlands' Renewed for Season 3 on AMC

Growing up a Chinese-American kid in 1970s and 1980s California, I saw no possibility for me to become an actor, especially one playing lead roles. There were many characters I loved on television — white, black and Latino — but I rarely saw people like myself represented. When I did see an Asian man appear on the screen, he was either a gross stereotype or something even worse.

I grew up watching “Kung Fu,” a TV series starring a white man (David Carradine) in yellow face playing a Chinese man. Legend has it that Bruce Lee had developed the concept for the show, hoping to creating an opportunity for himself. The studio loved the idea but cast a white man. While Bruce Lee eventually became a global icon, it was only after his untimely death — and after he first found opportunity in Hong Kong.

Almost two decades before “Kung Fu” aired, my parents immigrated to the U.S. Escaping war and political unrest, they came in pursuit of their idea of the American Dream. Both earned advanced degrees in the U.S. and worked to establish themselves professionally.

Also Read: 15 White Actors Miscast in Non-White Roles, From Mickey Rooney to Emma Stone (Photos)

Arriving in Berkeley, Calif., as newlyweds in 1961, my parents were barred from purchasing the house they wanted when the realtor told them it was in a “Whites Only” neighborhood. Undeterred, they went on to buy a house in a neighborhood nearby. From that house they could see up into the Berkeley Hills where the most beautiful and coveted homes in town were.

My mom would often tell my dad, “One day we will have a house there. ” And less than 10 years later they did it. And from that point on, they set their sights on making sure that their three kids received every opportunity to achieve their own dreams.

My mother had lofty goals for us. I remember a period when my mother kept planting a seed in my head, telling me that I could be the first Chinese-American president of the United States.

Also Read: 'Mulan' Fans Thank Disney for Not Whitewashing Live-Action Movie by Casting of Chinese Star

So it is kind of ironic that I had to leave the country for 20 years and become known to an audience of 1 billion Chinese before I would have the opportunity to come back to the U.S. and live my American Dream. And it’s also ironic that my Shanghai-born parents were immigrants to the U.S. and that I went the opposite way, to Hong Kong. But the root of my parents’ journeys and my own was the same — the pursuit of opportunity.

In retrospect, I feel very fortunate to have begun my career the way I did. Living and working in Asia insulated me from the race issue that is all-pervasive in entertainment in the U.S., especially now. When I won a part in Hong Kong, it was because I was right for it and not just because I fit the bill racially. Conversely, if I was rejected, it was because of my ability, which was something I could work on and not because of my race, which I couldn’t. So instead of being an angry Asian American actor lamenting about limited roles, being in Asia allowed me to focus on the craft of acting and to choose roles that helped broaden me as an actor.

My time in Asia not only insulated me from spirit-breaking casting situations that my fellow Asian American actor friends endured, but it allowed me to become a better actor. It also brought me closer to my culture, and made me who I am today. When I did enter Hollywood, knowing that my peeps had my back gave me a lot of confidence. If I had spent years in U.S. casting rooms getting rejected because I wasn’t the right skin color, or turning down one stereotypical role after another, or taking said roles because I needed to pay rent, I would have quit a long time ago.

After the first season of “Into the Badlands” debuted, I was reluctant to be a racial role model. I just wanted to focus on the work and make great television. During my 20 years in Asia I never needed to talk about these topics, let alone be the center of attention about them.

But after the second season premiered, and we learned about the impact the show was having, I started to understand the importance of stepping up. I’ve accepted the fact that I am one of the very few Asian men in the American entertainment and that by default people were going to look to me symbol of change. So as people have embraced me I have learned to embrace that new role.

Am I going to run for president? Hell no. But I think my parents’ dream for me was to find my place in this country, to be successful at what I do and most importantly, to be happy. I am proud to know that I might have some part in righting what happened to Bruce Lee over 40 years ago. And I am proud that some kid might watch “Into the Badlands” and think, “I want to be like him!”

Read original story I’m an Asian American Actor Who Went to China Before Hollywood Would Cast Me as a Lead (Guest Blog) At TheWrap
See full article at The Wrap »

Disney's Mulan Remake Brings in Jet Li and Gong Li

Disney's live-action remake of Mulan is finally starting to take shape. The movie will shoot this summer in New Zealand and China, while Jet Li and Gong Li have officially both joined Donnie Yen and Liu Yifei in the casting of the remake. It was announced earlier today that Yen will be portraying Commander Tung and it's been known for a while that Yifei will play the titular role. The new casting announcements come after it was revealed that Disney is pushing the movie back until 2020.

Jet Li is reportedly set to play the Emperor of China in this Disney live-action remake of Mulan. Pat Morita voiced the character in the original version of the movie. The Emperor orders the mobilization of troops through compulsory enrollment in the military, making one male from each household join to go fight. In the story, Mulan disguises herself as a man to
See full article at MovieWeb »

Donnie Yen and More Join Disney's Live-Action 'Mulan': What We Can Expect

We first heard about Disney's plans to make a new version of their animated film Mulan just over three years ago. The project is picking up speed now with the announcement that three major stars have been cast in key roles. What can we expect from the live-action Mulan?   Why could this be especially important for Disney? In March 2015, we noted: "It's a fairly standard retelling of a classic Chinese story about a young woman who hides her identity, enrolls in the army and becomes an unlikely warrior, icon and hero. But it's that last part that could easily make this a huge movie for Disney. "International box office matters more and more in this day and age, and one of the most important markets in the world is China. So a big budget Disney movie...
See full article at Movies.com »

Donnie Yen Is Commander Tung in Disney's Mulan Remake

Now that Disney has locked in Liu Yifei, a.k.a. Crystal Liu, to play Mulan in the studio's live-action remake, the studio has moved on to round out the cast. Chinese superstar Donnie Yen has been cast in Mulan as Commander Tung, who is described as a mentor and teacher to Mulan. There was no Commander Tung character in the original 1998 animated film Mulan, so it seems likely this is a new character created specifically for this live-action remake.

Liu Yifei was cast as the title character back in late November, although no further characters have been cast at this time. This new casting report comes just over a month after Disney pushed the Mulan release date from an unspecified date in 2019 to March 27, 2020. As of now, Mulan will go up against Paramount's G.I. Joe 3 on that date, although that will change in the next two years.
See full article at MovieWeb »

Donnie Yen and More Join Disney's Live-Action 'Mulan': What We Can Expect

  • Fandango
We first heard about Disney's plans to make a new version of their animated film Mulan just over three years ago. The project is picking up speed now with the announcement that three major stars have been cast in key roles. What can we expect from the live-action Mulan?   Why could this be especially important for Disney? In March 2015, we noted: "It's a fairly standard retelling of a classic Chinese story about a young woman who hides her identity, enrolls in the...

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See full article at Fandango »

Gong Li, Jet Li Join Disney’s Live-Action ‘Mulan’

Gong Li, Jet Li Join Disney’s Live-Action ‘Mulan’
Chinese stars Gong Li and Jet Li are joining Disney’s live-action version of “Mulan” opposite Donnie Yen and Liu Yifei.

The film is a remake of Disney’s 1998 animated film in which Fa Mulan, daughter of aging warrior Fa Zhou, impersonates a man to take her father’s place during a general conscription during the Han Dynasty.

Jet Li is in final talks to play the emperor of China, who orders the mobilization of troops. Gong Li will portray the villain as a powerful witch. Chinese-Vietnamese actress Xana Tang will play Mulan’s sister.

Niki Caro is directing the film, which also includes Donnie Yen as Mulan’s mentor, Commander Tung. Mulan will begin shooting in August in China and New Zealand.

Chris Bender, Jason Reed, and Jake Weiner are producing the movie. The film’s release was recently pushed back by more than a year to March 27, 2020.

Gong
See full article at Variety - Film News »

Disney’s Live-Action ‘Mulan’ Remake Adds Jet Li and Gong Li

The casting process for Disney’s live-action Mulan remake is picking up steam. After recent news that Donnie Yen has joined the film, word comes that Gong Li and Jet Li have joined the cast as well. You wan’t more Mulan casting news? You got it. The Hollywood Reporter reveals that Disney’s latest live-action remake has added action superstar Jet Li […]

The post Disney’s Live-Action ‘Mulan’ Remake Adds Jet Li and Gong Li appeared first on /Film.
See full article at Slash Film »

Donnie Yen joins Disney's live action Mulan

  • JoBlo
Working on a Disney movie comes with plenty of perks, the best of them all being that you may get the opportunity to be in more Disney movies. Donnie Yen got a chance to work with the House of Mouse for Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, and now in a perfect piece of casting, the superstar from China will be joining the soon-to-be-megahit movie, Mulan. [See More] Deadline got the exclusive that Yen has joined the... Read More...
See full article at JoBlo »

Film / TV Casting: Star Trek: Discovery, The Spy, Donnie Yen in Mulan, & More

Star Trek: Discovery, The Spy, Mulan, and Other Casting News

Star Trek: Discovery, The Spy, Mulan, and other films and television shows have made recent film, TV series, and TV mini-series casting, screenwriting, and director news. These films come from movie studios primarily based in the United States and abroad. The castings, screenwriters, and directors are [...]

Continue reading: Film / TV Casting: Star Trek: Discovery, The Spy, Donnie Yen in Mulan, & More

The post Film / TV Casting: Star Trek: Discovery, The Spy, Donnie Yen in Mulan, & More appeared first on FilmBook.
See full article at Film-Book »

Rogue One Actor Donnie Yen Joins Disney's Live-Action Mulan Film

Donnie Yen, the actor best known for his role in the IP Man trilogy and Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, is set to star in Disney's live-action adaptation of Mulan. According to Deadline, he will take on the role of Commander Tung, who is a mentor and teacher to Mulan. A role that Yen is absolutely perfect for!

Yen joins the previously cast Liu Yifei, who is set to play the title role. The film will be directed by Niki Caro, who previously helmed the wonderfully made films Whale Rider, McFarland, USA and The Zookeeper’s Wife. She's a talented director and I think she'll end up giving us a solid film regardless of the fact that it doesn't look like any of the classic songs from the animated movie will be used.

The story follows a young maiden who secretly takes her father's place in an army
See full article at GeekTyrant »

Donnie Yen Joins the Cast of Disney’s Live-Action ‘Mulan’

  • The Wrap
Donnie Yen Joins the Cast of Disney’s Live-Action ‘Mulan’
Action Star Donnie Yen (“Rogue One: A Star Wars Story”) has joined the cast of Disney’s live-action “Mulan,” an individual with knowledge of the project tells TheWrap.

Yen will play Commander Tung in remake of 1998 Disney animated film.

Niki Caro is directing the film, which stars Chinese actress Liu Yifei in the title role. Jason Reed, Chris Bender and Jake Weiner are producing, and Bill Kong is executive producing.

Also Read: 'Mulan' Fans Thank Disney for Not Whitewashing Live-Action Movie by Casting of Chinese Star

Disney’s live-action version of the classic Disney tale comes on the heels of various revival projects like “The Jungle Book” and “Beauty and the Beast,” both of which grossed over $1 billion worldwide. “Beauty and the Beast” grossed $174.8 million its opening weekend alone. A remake of “The Lion King” is one of many upcoming live-action projects.

The animated “Mulan,” released in 1998, was based on the Chinese legend of Hua Mulan and was directed by Tony Bancroft and Barry Cook. It grossed $304.3 million worldwide after earning $22.7 million its opening weekend.

Yen was the martial arts choreographer for 2000’s “Highlander: Endgame” and 2002’s “Blade II,” appearing in both of those films as an actor, as well. He also starred opposite Jackie Chan in 2003’s “Shanghai Knights.”

Also Read: Ex-Disney Star Joins White House Press Team

Yen made his movie debut in the 1984 Hong Kong film “Drunken Tai Chi” and came to wider attention with his portrayal of Nap-lan Yun-seut in 1992’s “Once Upon a Time in China II.” His international breakthrough came playing the title character in 2008’s “Ip Man,” based on Wing Chun grandmaster — and Bruce Lee’s teacher — Yip Man. He reprised that role in 2010’s “Ip Man 2” and last year’s “Ip Man 3,” where Yen starred opposite boxing legend Mike Tyson – and accidentally broke the champ’s finger during a fight scene.

Yen is repped by CAA, Bullet Films, and Bloom Hergott.

Read original story Donnie Yen Joins the Cast of Disney’s Live-Action ‘Mulan’ At TheWrap
See full article at The Wrap »

‘Mulan’ Live-Action Disney Reboot Casts ‘Rogue One’ Star Donnie Yen

‘Mulan’ Live-Action Disney Reboot Casts ‘Rogue One’ Star Donnie Yen
Donnie Yen is set to star opposite Liu Yifei in Disney’s live-action adaptation of “Mulan.”

Niki Caro is directing, and Chris Bender, Jason Reed, and Jake Weiner are producing the movie. The film’s release was recently pushed back by more than a year to March 27, 2020.

The English-language version of the original “Mulan” (1998) featured the voices of Ming-Na Wen, Eddie Murphy, Miguel Ferrer, and Bd Wong, while Jackie Chan voiced Chinese dubs of the movie. The animated film grossed $304.3 million worldwide.

Jurassic World” and “Avatar” sequel scribes Rick Jaffa and Amanda Silver came on board in 2015 to rewrite the spec by Lauren Hynek and Elizabeth Martin.

The studio’s emphasis on live-action reboots follows the successes of “Maleficent,” “Cinderella,” “The Jungle Book,” and, most recently, “Beauty and the Beast,” which was one 2017’s biggest box office hits. The studio is now shooting “Dumbo,” with Tim Burton directing and Colin Farrell starring.
See full article at Variety - Film News »

‘Saturday Night Live’ Review: Chadwick Boseman Does Wakanda Proud (While Also Getting Pretty Silly Sometimes)

  • Indiewire
‘Saturday Night Live’ Review: Chadwick Boseman Does Wakanda Proud (While Also Getting Pretty Silly Sometimes)
Host: Chadwick Boseman

First of all: Boseman’s choice of ensemble for the monologue? Good God, the man knows how to dress. He also knows how to deliver a few solid jokes and dance, and it was good to see the writers take advantage of both elements.

It was also the closest that “SNL” got to taking advantage of Boseman’s status as America’s Preeminent Black Biopic Star, referencing his past work portraying not just the King of Wakanda, but historical figures like Jackie Robinson and James Brown. The episode in general was interesting in how it chose largely to use Boseman as a utility player rather than lean into his specific characteristics for sketches, which can usually go one of two ways: Create unique opportunities for weird-ass moments, or lead to a lot of straight-down-the-middle safe bets.

This week featured far more of the latter, with a fair
See full article at Indiewire »

Soon-Tek Oh, Voice of Mulan’s Father and Asian-American Theater Pioneer, Dies at 85

Soon-Tek Oh, Voice of Mulan’s Father and Asian-American Theater Pioneer, Dies at 85
Soon-Tek Oh, a pioneering figure in Asian-American theater who voiced Fa Zhou in two “Mulan” films and acted with Roger Moore in “Man with the Golden Gun,” has died. He was 85.

Oh died Wednesday in Los Angeles after a long fight with Alzheimer’s, according to actor Chil Kong. Kong co-founded the Lodestone Theatre Ensemble in Los Angeles under Oh’s guidance.

In addition to his voice credits in “Mulan,” Oh acted in numerous television series throughout his career, beginning in the ’60s with credits on series like “It Takes a Thief” and “I Spy” and spanning through the ’90s with repeat appearances on shows including “Hawaii Five-o,” “M*A*S*H,” and “Charlie’s Angels.” He also acted in “Magnum, P.I.,” “Cagney & Lacey,” and “Hill Street Blues.”

In 1974, Oh appeared as Lieutenant Hip in “Man With the Golden Gun.” In the film, Hip arrests James Bond after Christopher Lee’s Francisco Scaramanga kills a scientist,
See full article at Variety - Film News »

Soon-Tek Oh, 'Mulan' and 'Man With the Golden Gun' Actor, Dies at 85

Soon-Tek Oh, 'Mulan' and 'Man With the Golden Gun' Actor, Dies at 85
Soon-Tek Oh, who voiced the aging warrior Fa Zhou in two Mulan films, aided Roger Moore in The Man With the Golden Gun and fought Chuck Norris to an explosive finale in Missing in Action 2: The Beginning, has died. He was 85.

Oh died Wednesday in Los Angeles after a battle with Alzheimer's, actor Chil Kong reported. He and Oh were co-founders of the Lodestone Theatre Ensemble in Los Angeles.

"I will never be able to repay him for what he did for me, how he shaped me as an artist, as a community leader and as...
See full article at The Hollywood Reporter - Movie News »

Soon-Tek Oh, 'Mulan' and 'Man With the Golden Gun' Actor, Dies at 85

Soon-Tek Oh, who voiced the aging warrior Fa Zhou in two Mulan films, aided Roger Moore in The Man With the Golden Gun and fought Chuck Norris to an explosive finale in Missing in Action 2: The Beginning, has died. He was 85.

Oh died Wednesday in Los Angeles after a battle with Alzheimer's, actor Chil Kong reported. He and Oh were co-founders of the Lodestone Theatre Ensemble in Los Angeles.

"I will never be able to repay him for what he did for me, how he shaped me as an artist, as a community leader and as...
See full article at The Hollywood Reporter - TV News »

Film News Roundup: Margo Martindale Joins Tiffany Haddish, Elisabeth Moss in ‘The Kitchen’

Film News Roundup: Margo Martindale Joins Tiffany Haddish, Elisabeth Moss in ‘The Kitchen’
In today’s film news roundup, Margo Martindale becomes a mob boss, Kevin Tsujihara is selected as a commencement speaker and the homeless woman project “Landing Up” gets distribution.

Castings

Margo Martindale is joining Tiffany Haddish, Elisabeth Moss and Melissa McCarthy in the mob drama “The Kitchen” for New Line Cinema and DC Entertainment.

Straight Outta Compton” writer Andrea Berloff will direct from her own script, based on the comic book series by Ollie Masters and Ming Doyle from DC Entertainment’s Vertigo imprint. The movie will mark Berloff’s feature directorial debut. Michael De Luca is producing the film.

The Kitchen” follows a group of Irish mobsters sent to prison. The wives take over their jailed spouses’ organized crime operation to become the most ruthless and powerful gangsters in 1970s Hell’s Kitchen. Martindale will play the behind-the-scenes operative who runs the mob. “The Kitchen” hits theaters on Sept.
See full article at Variety - Film News »

Lead Actress In Disney’s Live-Action ‘Mulan’ Wins “Most Disappointing Actress” Award In China

It’s been a while since we heard anything about the upcoming live-action remake of the Disney classic “Mulan.”

Back in February of last year, it was announced that director Niki Caro would be the filmmaker to bring the story to life. Other than that, the only real news is the film is being pushed until March 2020, with no real reason given for the delay.
See full article at The Playlist »

Aladdin and Moana Co-Director John Musker Retires from Disney

A legend has retired from Disney. Even if you don't know his name, John Musker surely had a hand in making some of your favorite classic Disney movies. He co-directed Aladdin, The Little Mermaid and, more recently, Moana, among other notable works for the Mouse House. However, after more than 40 years with the company, he's decided to retire. But he's arguably going out on top, at least as far as his work with Disney is concerned.

News of John Musker's retirement from Disney spread on social media following a party that was thrown in his honor. Many of those who attended the paryt, that also worked with him over the years, took to social media to share their thoughts on the man who is undoubtedly a big part of Disney history. Hyrum Osmond, who worked with Musker on Moana, had this to say on Twitter.

"Wishing a very happy retirement
See full article at MovieWeb »

Disney's Lady and the Tramp Remake Gets Lego Ninjago Director

Charlie Bean, who is best known for directing The Lego Ninjago Movie, has officially signed on to helm Disney's live-action/CGI remake of Lady and the Tramp. The project is a priority for Disney to be made exclusively for their new streaming platform in 2019. It has been reported that the Disney streaming service expects to release four to six movies a year along with other original TV projects, including the new Star Wars series that Jon Favreau recently officially signed on to make.

Lady and the Tramp was released in 1955 and it includes some of Disney's most iconic animation in their history. The story of a Cocker Spaniel named Lady who finds herself on the mean streets after her owners have a new baby and then learns to live in the gutter with Tramp, who saves her from a pack. Included in that iconic imagery is the famous shared spaghetti scene,
See full article at MovieWeb »
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