Whale Rider helmer Niki Caro being eyed to direct Disney's live-action Mulan Walt Disney Pictures

Disney's live-action Mulan remake may have found its director in 2005's film drama North Country helmer Niki Caro. The studio are reportedly eyeing the New Zealand filmmaker to lead the project following Brokeback Mountain's Ang Lee turning down the opportunity.

According to Variety, the film has been fast-tracked in terms of production with Jurassic World screenwriters Rick Jaffa and Amanda Silver having penned the latest script. The duo worked from a draft by relative newcomers Lauren Hynek and Elizabeth Martin.

Niki Caro
Jesse Grant / Getty

Jason Reed (Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles) is set to produce alongside Chris Bender, JC Spink (Rings) and Jake Weiner (Leap Year). Hong Kong-based producer Bill Kong will executive produce the movie.

Niki Caro fact file

Full name: Nikola Jean Caro

Date of birth: 1967

Home town: Wellington, New Zealand

First directing gig: Bad Note for a Heart, music video


Spouse: Andrew Lister

Originally released in 1998, the well-loved classic centred on the titular character, an ordinary young woman who disguises herself as a man and joins the Chinese emperor's army so her elderly father isn't drafted in. The animation featured the voice talents of Gotham's BD Wong, Agent of S.H.I.E.L.D's Ming-Na Wen and Eddie Murphy while Lea Salonga and Donny Osmond performed the film's songs.

Interestingly, this isn't the first Disney outing that Caro has been linked to in recent months. Back in August 2016, it was revealed the 49-year-old was on the studio's shortlist to direct superhero movie Captain Marvel. With Mulan slated to reach US cinemas on 2 November 2018 and Captain Marvel billed for an 8 March release, it seems unlikely that she'd be involved with both. Then again, it's not impossible, especially as Disney could work out both schedules specifically.

Caro is best known for writing and helming Oscar-nominated drama Whale Rider in 2002, as well as directing Charlize Theron in sexual harassment drama, North Country. Her next film, The Zookeeper's Wife starring Jessica Chastain, will be released in the US on 31 March and will reach the UK on 5 May.

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