I'm talking about Mulan.
(more after the jump)
Mulan, whose surname is either Fa or Hua, depending on the translation, is a Chinese folk hero whose story has been passed down through the centuries by poets, playwrights, memoirists (particularly Maxine Hong Kingston's The Woman Warrior) -- and, of course, Disney. The 1998 film was nominated for an Oscar, spawned a direct-to-video sequel, and inspired a generation of kids, like myself, to be true to our hearts. Plus, I'm pretty sure without Mushu, Eddie Murphy doesn't get the Shrek gig, which got him a BAFTA Award Nomination for Best Supporting Actor (true story!).While we may not get the drunken antics offered in the 1964 Chinese opera film Lady General Hua Mulan....
...we do get a heartwarming, funny, brilliant movie about courage and embracing your true self. Mulan, after all, is a woman who does not fit in with Ancient China's ideal of the blushing, silent female. When war comes to China and her ailing father is called up, Mulan steals his armor and disguises herself as a boy to fight in his place...and winds up saving all of freeking China. Like a boss.
So Disney, before you roll cameras, do consider the following....
originated by George Takei
But of course, who else to play the all-wise overseer of the Fa family than China's biggest movie star himself?
Mulan's feisty grandmother. Gifts her with Cri-kee, a lucky cricket who does not do so well with the matchmaker -- but perhaps that worked out best for Mulan, after all.
originated by June Foray
Because I remember how moved I was by her performance in The Joy Luck Club.
Mulan's mother. Concerned for her daughter.
originated by Freda Foh Shen
Icon of Chinese and American cinema.
Mulan's father. Called to war, he is too ill to serve, but the law -- and his sense of honor -- demands his service anyway. It is for him that Mulan disguises herself as P'ing.
originated by Oh Soon-Tek
Like the Ancestor, I wanted to use the biggest Chinese stars to serve as the patriarchal figures. Wouldn't you do all you can to make sure Leung stays home in bed?
The leader of Emperor's army. Leads a failed defense against Shan Yu.
originated by James Shigeta
Ruler of China. Probably Qin Shi Huang.
originated by Noriyuki "Pat" Morita
I think he actually resembles, somewhat, Qin Shi Huang.
Emperor's counsel and adviser to Shang. Does not think Shang is suited to the task of Captain, nor does he think a woman is suited to any task outside the household.
originated by James Hong
Though much more villainous in Marco Polo, his role there is quite similar to Chi-Fu. And he's quite good with a dry joke.
He tries. Wants a girl who's "paler than the moon, with eyes that shine like stars."
originated by Gedde Watanabe/Matthew Wilder
Big and warm-hearted. Wants a girl who can cook "beef, pork, chicken, MMMM."
originated by Jerry Tondo
Small and fiery. Wants a girl who'll "marvel at his strength, adore his battle scars."
originated by Harvey Fierstein
Cruel, merciless leader of the Huns, returned to China to take the throne from the Emperor by force.
originated by Miguel Ferrer
Established himself as an A-Plus villain in The Fast and the Furious, Die Another Day, Olympus Has Fallen....look, I don't need to list his bonafides. You know him.
A tiny dragon, former family guardian until a mistake cost him his job. But when the chips down -- and he destroys the actual Great Stone Dragon -- he takes it upon himself to help Mulan execute her charade.
originated by Eddie Murphy
Probably a mo-cap performance.
Captain in the Army, newly-appointed by his father. But it's not mere nepotism -- he's a courageous and strong leader, understanding, merciful -- and so attractive, Grandmother Fa wants to sign up for the next war.
originated by B.D. Wong
I've been a fan of his since The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones. A very different role, of course, but he's got magnetism!
The legend herself, the farm girl who disguised herself as a boy, Ping, so that she could fight in her father's place. In a time -- and place -- where women were expected to remain seen and not heard, Mulan kicks ass and saves China. She is The Woman Warrior.
originated by Ming-Na Wen/Lea Salonga
My Choice: Hollmann Award Nominee for Best Supporting Actress (Scott Pilgrim vs. the World)
Because she deserves a lead role after being awesome in Scott Pilgrim and winning on The Carrie Diaries.
And what does your dream Mulan cast look like? Do share in the comments, and tune in next week, as we tackle Aladdin!