Niki Caro has praised Wonder Woman director Patty Jenkins for paving the way and inspiring her to helm Disney’s live-action Mulan.
The New Zealand-born filmmaker, who has joined the ranks of Kathryn Bigelow, Ava DuVernay and Jenkins, who have made films costing more than $100 million (£77 million), was disappointed in the almost non-existent opportunities for female directors in Hollywood when she started out.
“When I first started wanting to be a filmmaker, there was so little precedent for women doing this (big studio) work,” Caro told The Hollywood Reporter. “Patty changed the game with Wonder Woman. It was like a shot of adrenaline for me as a filmmaker.”
And for the live-action remake of the 1998 Disney animated classic, the 53-year-old hired a female-dominated crew, including cinematographer Mandy Walker, costume designer Bina Daigeler, and first assistant director Liz Tan.
Elsewhere in the interview, Caro revealed that a huge global hunt was conducted to find the perfect actress to play Mulan, with her sending a team of casting directors to almost every small village in China back in 2016.
“She’s a needle in a haystack, but we were going to find her,” she explained. “It’s impossible to make this movie without this person.”
Liu Yifei was eventually picked to play the young girl who takes her ailing father’s place in the Imperial Chinese Army to defend the country from Huns, and Caro immediately put the actress through a 90-minute physical assessment to ensure she was able to deal with the rigorous training and fight scenes during filming,
“(Liu) never complained once, never said, ‘I can’t.’ She went to her limits,” the director added.
© Cover Media