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Niki Caro to helm live-action 'Mulan' movie

A scene from "Mulan." (Disney)
A scene from "Mulan." (Disney)

Disney's live-action adaptation of its animated "Mulan" film will be directed by Niki Caro. "Crouching Tiger" producer Bill Kong is also joining the film as executive producer.

The Los Angeles Times has confirmed the news first reported by the Hollywood Reporter.

Caro, who has directed films such as "Whale Rider" (2002), "McFarland, USA" (2015) and the upcoming "The Zookeeper's Wife," will be the second woman whom Disney has tapped to helm a movie with a budget of more than $100 million. She follows Ava DuVernay, who is directing Disney's "A Wrinkle in Time" adaptation.

The only other women who have solo-directed live-action films at that budget level are Kathryn Bigelow (2002's "K-19: The Widowmaker") and Patty Jenkins (the upcoming "Wonder Woman" film). 

Kong, meanwhile, is a Hong Kong-based producer who has worked on films including "Hero," "House of Flying Daggers" and "Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon." 

"Mulan" faced some early controversy when details emerged that the adaptation would focus on the story of a male, non-Asian love interest rather than Mulan herself. But Disney responded to the rumors by clarifying that screenwriters Rick Jaffa and Amanda Silver were retooling the original script purchased by the studio.  

According to the Hollywood Reporter, the "Mulan" team has had extensive conversations with Chinese cultural consultants about the film.   

The cast for the "Mulan" adaptation has not yet been announced.  A global casting search is underway for an actress to play the Chinese heroine, as well as the other main roles.

The film is due to hit theaters Nov. 2, 2018. 

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