Mulan, Disney’s latest live-action adaptation, sets itself apart from the original animated movie. However, the film had one significant cameo from the star of the 1998 film.
Ming-Na Wen, who lent her voice to the character of Mulan in the animation, was in the live-action. She appeared briefly in one of the last few moments to introduce Li Yufei’s Mulan to the Emperor.
Producer Jason Reed said in an interview with Insider that he talked to Wen about doing the cameo before they started production. Wen was busy filming Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. in the U.S., so they had to find a good schedule to fly the actress to the Mulan set in New Zealand, without disrupting her work.
Wen’s cameo was intended to be hush-hush, and Mandy Walker, the cinematographer, said that people on the set picked up on what was supposed to happen.
“It was quite special because you could hear everybody sort of standing like, ‘You know who that is?'” Walker said.
OG Mulan’s daughter was in the cast, too
One other poignant scene in the live-action film was that of a young woman who had an amazing reaction to the Emperor’s special guest. The actress who played her was Wen’s real-life daughter.
“After Ming-Na does her introduction, Mulan says something slightly unexpected a few shots later, and it cuts to the reaction of someone who gives an ‘oh my’ reaction. That is Ming-Na Wen’s daughter,” the producer said.
Reed is quite proud of what they have achieved. Wen has been the face and the voice attached to Mulan since the animated movie’s release. Fans of the movie immediately name her when talking about the highly popular tale.
Though Wen’s role in the live-action was small, it was still perfect. Tony Bancroft, who directed the 1998 version, wasn’t even aware of Wen’s cameo, and this made her scene his favorite.
Wen and Bancroft had a reunion at the world premiere of the live-action, which happened before the COVID-19 lockdown.
A big hit on Disney+
But because of COVID-19, Disney had to push back the debut of the Mulan live-action six months later on the streaming platform Disney+. According to Forbes, the movie is set to become a blockbuster despite the unusual screen debut and the $30 premium price tag to access the movie.
According to Variety, Mulan deserves a do-over on the big screen for its cinematography and well-choreographed action scenes. Besides, Hollywood also hasn’t had an all-Asian cast in a big movie in two decades after Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon.
Image used courtesy of Featureflash Photo Agency/Shutterstock