If Ang Lee hadn't passed on directing Disney's live-action retelling of 1998's animated Mulan - based on the Chinese legend of Hua Mulan, a warrior's daughter who disguises herself as a man to go to war - he probably would have shot the epic battle scenes in the Himalayan mountains in his new 4K resolution, 3D at 120 frames-per-second format, as debuted in his just-released Billy Lynn's Long Halftime Walk.
But he had to pass "because I'm still obliged to promote [Billy Lynn]," the Oscar-winning director tells The Hollywood Reporter.
Disney is moving to find a director, ideally Asian, as well as a Chinese lead actress and love interest. Insiders say the studio liked the rewrite by Jurassic World's Rick Jaffa and Amanda Silver so much that it fast-tracked the project for release Nov. 2, 2018.
"It'd be great to see an Asian do it, of course," says the Taiwan-born Lee, though "it's whoever does the best job. I'm doing an American movie!" Sony also is working on a live-action Mulan, with Game of Thrones director Alex Graves, and plans for a predominantly Asian cast.
A version of this story first appeared in the Dec. 2 issue of The Hollywood Reporter magazine. To receive the magazine, click here to subscribe.