The original voice of Mulan has urged Disney filmmakers to make sure they cast a Chinese actress to portray the heroine in the live-action remake.
Ming-Na Wen was the actress behind the animated Mulan in the 1998 Disney hit, and she has asked the casting minds behind the revamp not to ‘whitewash’ the film and hire a white Hollywood A-lister.
Asked for her take on the casting, the Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. star told Entertainment Tonight the new Mulan must be “Chinese in her heritage”.
“Even though we’re Pan-Asian, it is specifically a Chinese folklore and I really think that someone with that ethnic background (would) really just add more to the story.”
Ming-Na was among the Asian celebrities who recently attacked the casting of Scarlett Johansson in Ghost in the Shell.
“Nothing against Scarlett Johansson,” she tweeted. “In fact, I’m a big fan. But everything against this Whitewashing of Asian role.”
Scarlett’s casting as the lead in the Japanese anime tale hit headlines when critics suggested her character was made to look more Asian.
At a panel discussion about the controversy, Ming-Na said, “We’re easy targets. It’s not in our nature to speak up and voice our concerns. That needs to change. We need to emulate the African-American community, whether through fear, (or) being loud…”
Oscar winner Tilda Swinton was also criticized for taking on the role of The Ancient One – an Asian comic book character – in Doctor Strange, and Matt Damon was slammed for accepting the leading man role in The Great Wall, with many suggesting an Asian actor should have been offered the part.