A Disney producer claims that the character Li Shang is absent from Mulan’s live remake because his script is not “appropriate” for the #MeToo era.
The film tells the story of a woman who disguises herself as a man to fight for her father in the Chinese imperial army.
In the 1998 animated original, based on the Chinese legend of Hua Mulan, General Li Shang developed a bond with Mulan Ping’s male warrior alter ego.
After her true identity was revealed, she and Li Shang had dinner together.
Given recent revelations in Hollywood, producer Jason Reed has confirmed that he is uncomfortable with the power dynamics in their relationship.
“I think especially in the era of the #MeToo movement, having a commander who is also interested in sexual love was very uncomfortable and we didn’t think it was appropriate,” Reed told Collider .
“We divided Li Shang into two characters [for the remake]. One became Commander Tung, who served as his surrogate father and mentor during the film. The other is Honghui who is [Mulan’s] equal in the team. “
Last week, movie mogul Harvey Weinstein was convicted on two counts during his sexual assault trial, more than two years after the first allegations against him emerged, sparking the #MeToo movement.
Chinese-American actress Liu Yifei plays the legendary warrior in the live-action film by Niki Caro, who recently faced boycott calls after expressing support for the Hong Kong police after violent protests pro-democracy.
It also stars Jason Scott Lee and Jet Li, though Eddie Murphy’s wise dragon Mushu doesn’t reappear either.
Mentor and love interest
Li Shang was voiced by BD Wong in the original, Donny Osmond providing his singing voice and Jackie Chan playing his roles in the dubbed version in Chinese.
Some fans of the original film questioned the need to remove the character, suggesting that there was nothing untoward about the relationship between Mulan / Ping and Li Shang in the first place.
Kala Elizabeth tweeted, “Li Shang’s whole arc is to realize that Mulan is no less than because she is a woman, he learns and grows from her.
“Is it almost like men can learn from this exact story?”
Another user, Sam the Great described Li Shang as a “bisexual legend” and one who “would never use his commanding position to force her to enter into contact”, noting that “it was only after Mulan’s departure from the Chinese army that Shang pursued her”.
The two tweets were each loved more than 200,000 times on the social media platform.
Disney’s most expensive live-action remake will hit theaters in Britain on March 27.
But its release in China has been postponed for now due to the coronavirus epidemic.
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