Celebrated film director Ang Lee was asked to direct Disney’s upcoming live-action remake of Mulan, but he ultimately passed for unknown reasons. The Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon director has won Academy Awards and is well-known for adapting period pieces into compelling drama, so his fans have rightfully wondered why Lee turned down the project.
Mike Reyes from Cinemablend was wondering the same during an interview with Lee, as the director is currently touring to promote his new film, Billy Lynn’s Halftime Walk. When asked about Mulan, the director said:
“Well, I have my mind on something else, which I wanted to make before Billy Lynn. It’s a boxing movie. So I’m still pursuing that, [and] I don’t want to hold up anybody. It sounds like a wonderful project, but I have my mind set on something else.”
That “boxing movie” is most likely the biopic based on “Thrilla’ In Manilla,” the famous 1975 match between Muhammed Ali and Joe Frazier. Though it should be noted that Disney has not yet found a director, and Lee has at least expressed some interest, calling it a “wonderful project.”
That said, Disney will likely set upon a director soon, ideally someone as masterful with the genre as Ang Lee and capable of preventing any controversial creative decisions (like the rumored white character lead that was debunked). Disney has seen incredible success with their live-action Disney remakes these last two years, with Alice Through The Looking Glass being a distant exception. And a lot of that has been due to their great foresight in picking the right director for the job.