Niki Caro, best known for her award-winning 2002 film "Whale Rider", will direct Disney's live-action "Mulan" film, a source close to the project confirmed to NBC News Tuesday.
The original Mulan, which opened to massive critical and financial success about two decades ago, is an action musical that follows a young woman who disguises herself as a man in order to serve in the Chinese army in her father's place and defeat the Huns. One of Caro's most recent works includes "The Zookeeper's Wife" with Jessica Chastain, Variety reported.
With Beauty and the Beast just around the corner, Disney's getting down to business on their next live-action remake.
Also, according to The Hollywood Reporter, she apparently beat out Patty Jenkins (Wonder Woman) and Michelle MacLaren (Breaking Bad, Game of Thrones). She joins A Wrinkle in Time's Ava DuVernay as women directors that are helming movies at Disney that are budgeted over $100 million.
The Mulan adaptation is the latest in a string of live-action Disney remakes, which began with Maleficent back in 2014, starring Angelina Jolie and Elle Fanning. We're particularly excited about Caro taking the job, but we're also excited to hear these other names being bandied about for such high profile gigs.
Meanwhile, Bill Kong has been lined up as executive producer. But Disney allegedly is set to start looking for a Chinese actress to portray Mulan quickly. The studio had primarily pursued an Asian director for the project, meeting with Ang Lee and Rogue One star Jiang Wen, a hit director in his native China. On March 30, 2015, it was announced that the film is in development, and on October of previous year, Disney confirmed the release date which is set to be on November 2, 2018.
Lauren Hynek and Elizabeth Martin have already provided the initial screenplay for "Mulan", which has since been rewritten by Amanda Silver and Rick Jaffa.
The project previously sparked controversy when reports emerged that an early draft of the script featured a Caucasian love interest, leading to allegations of whitewashing.