In light of the success of their live-action Cinderella remake, Disney recently announced they will next be producing a remake of Mulan. As per usual, the internet immediately began throwing out dream casting suggestions. And I’m here to get in on the fray. So here’s my list of dream actors to fill all the major roles from the animated film.
I honestly could not settle on just one, so I have three contenders, all of whom would make for an excellent leading lady.
Julia Ling – Probably best known for her stint as Anna in the cult TV series Chuck, she has also had recurring roles on ER and the short-lived Sorkin series Studio 60 on the Sunset Stip. Julia is a veteran of American TV and her look is a spot-on match for the iconic character.
Bingbing Fan – With roles in more than 20 feature films, this bi-lingual Chinese born actress certainly has the resume and acting chops to star as Mulan. Perhaps most recognizable to American audiences as Blink from X-Men: Days of Future Past, Fan has won several prestigious international film awards and is more than qualified to play the unlikely hero(ine) of Ancient China.
Arden Cho – She is my personal pick. Best known for her role as Kira on Teen Wolf, this up-and-coming starlet has just the right amount of youthful spunk to step into the role of Mulan. Cho has the requisite look, a ton of talent, and like Fan, she is also an accomplished singer, which makes her a double threat if Disney wants to do a musical version. Also, we already know she looks kick ass with a sword.
My choice here would be the Maze Runner and Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt actor Ki Hong Lee. What sold me on him for the part is really his physique. Plenty of young Asian male actors have the talent to play Shang, but bulk is a must for this commanding warrior, and as much as I love Harry Shum Jr. and John Cho, they just don’t have the hefty beefiness of a Shang. Ki Hong Lee is an outstanding up-and-comer who has the talent and the body type to really fill out this role.
FA LI (Mulan’s Mother)
There seems to be pretty high consensus that bad-ass Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D actor and original voice of Mulan, Ming-Na Wen should play her mother in the adaptation. And I agree. She is the right age, and although she is anything but motherly on AoS, she is also an actress with a wide range of talent that could easily stretch beyond the likes of Melinda May. I also think she deserves to be part of the film’s legacy as it moves into this 21st century live adaptation. (Although Lauren Tom – aka Linda Tran from Supernatural – would also be a very respectable choice)
FA ZHOU (Mulan’s Father)
Hiro Kanagawa is an actor who belongs to that group of recurring background characters that a friend of mine likes to classify as “Hey, it’s that guy.” His face is familiar and he’s had a ton of random guest roles on various shows and films, but has never quite had that BIG break that would make his name lead billing. However, I think he has just the right look for this wounded but proud middle-aged warrior, and with his mile long resume, he could easily step into a major feature film like this.
This one I gotta give to Lisa Lu. The veteran actress has been on everything from Bonanza to The Joy Luck Club to ER and has done a stunning range of work in her over 50 year career. A tri-lingual talent of Chinese descent, she is credited as being one of the first trailblazers for Chinese actors in old Hollywood. She is perfect for role of Mulan’s spunky grandma.
George Takei all the way. The Star Trek OS alum and current social-media savant actually voiced the lead ancestor in the animated version of Mulan. However, for the live-action version, he seems a better fit for the emperor. Mature in body but young at heart, this long-time actor is still one of the cool kids and I think he could bring just the right amount of stoic wisdom mixed with haughty camp to the role. Especially since the original voice actor Pat Morita (best known as Mr. Miyagi from The Karate Kid) is sadly no longer with us.
Who else do you want to see in the new film adaptation? Let us know in the comments!