Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Protest by social networkers erases idea of Mulan's white savior

In Disney's original animated telling of the legend of Mulan, she had a love interest, but he was Chinese.

THE FIRE has been put out by Disney, at least for now.

Social media was set ablaze after an anonymous open letter published in Angry Asian Man claimed that a spec script purchased by Disney for the live-action Mulan movie featured a White love interest who comes in to save the day.

"The man is a 30-something European trader who initially cares only for the pleasure of women and money. The only reason why he and his entourage decide to help the Chinese Imperial Army is because he sets eyes on Mulan. That’s right. Our white savior has come to the aid of Ancient China due to a classic case of Yellow Fever. In this script written by Lauren Hynek and Elizabeth Martin, more than half of its pages are dedicated to this merchant who develops a mutual attraction with Mulan and fights to protect her in the ensuing battles. To top it all off, this man gets the honor of defeating the primary enemy of China, not Mulan. Way to steal a girl’s thunder."
Online outrage spread like wildfire (via the hashtag #MakeMulanRight) and was stoked by actor Joel de La Fuente’s (The Man In The High Castle) claim that he, too, had read this iteration of the script.

Since the story broke, Vulture reports Disney has brought in new writers and Mulan will have a Chinese love interest.

“The spec script was a jumping-off point for a new take on the story that draws from both the literary ballad of Mulan and Disney’s 1998 animated film,” a source close to the production said. “Mulan is and will always be the lead character in the story, and all primary roles, including the love interest, are Chinese.”

The controversy stoked fears that this was yet another example of Hollywood #whitewashing an Asian story.

(Views from the Edge contributed to this report)