Mulan is a 2020 American action drama film directed by Niki Caro, with the screenplay by Rick Jaffa, Amanda Silver, Lauren Hynek, and Elizabeth Martin, produced by Walt Disney Pictures, and distributed by Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures. The film is based on the Chinese folklore “The Ballad of Mulan” and is a live-action adaptation of Disney’s 1998 animated film of the same name. The film stars Liu Yifei in the title role, alongside Donnie Yen, Jason Scott Lee, Yoson An, Gong Li, and Jet Li in supporting roles.

When the Emperor of China issues a decree that one man per family must serve in the Imperial Army to defend the country from Northern invaders, Hua Mulan, the eldest daughter of an honored warrior, steps in to take the place of her ailing father. Masquerading as a man, Hua Jun, she is tested every step of the way and must harness her inner-strength and embrace her true potential. It is an epic journey that will transform her into an honored warrior and earn her the respect of a grateful nation…and a proud father.

The transcript below is from the video “JET LI talks MULAN & remembers Aaliyah ROMEO MUST DIE co-star” by Sade Spence.

Host:

Now like I just said I’m so excited to speak with you you’re such a legend and now you’re in Disney’s Mulan- you’re taking on the Emperor. What resonated most with you about this film? There are so many themes.

Jet Li:

Yeah in this film I play the Emperor. It’s not like the usual- I have a lot of fight. This time, I just sit there you know.

Host:

You got a little in there

Jet Li:

Yes, a little.

Host:

I was glad to see, I was wondering.

Jet Li:

I love the film because it shows Chinese culture very well. China has a long history you know-five thousand years- so it’s really difficult to put all the idea in movement films. But this film I love the most because it has a few verses that’s very important; loyalty and devotion that’s in Chinese people’s mind and blood- everybody knows. The director puts truth. It’s very important to be yourself.

Host:

Yes.

Jet Li:

Every woman, every girl, you’re individual, you’re unique. Believe in yourself. Be brave. I hope after watching the movie, they can understand the meaning of Mulan. Mulan is not just a fighter, of course she’s beautiful you know, but the meaning is very important to 21st century. Everybody, especially girls, you need to be yourself- true and brave. The world will in the future will need more important woman to lead this human society.

Host:

Yes. I would also love to know what you think the film says to fathers because it leans also a lot on family values and how she first thought that she has to get married, see the matchmaker but she takes on this new role. So, what do you think fathers can also you know take away from this film?

Jet Li:

Oh yeah. I always believe, you know, the world needs to be balanced. We see a lot of action movies where usually tough mans are heroes. Women should have their position. In my family I have four daughters. I’ll always say I respect whatever they do true from their heart because the life in the future is theirs. So, believe in yourself, be independent and do your best. They love Mulan. In the beginning I turned down, I didn’t want to make it in the movie.

Host:

Why?

Jet Li:

Because we grew up with Mulan- everybody knows the old story. Even when I watch the beginning of the movie, I already know the end. You know, each generation knows the story but how to make them fresh? Then my younger daughter, 15 years old, she said, “can you make it a movie for me?” So, I was like, “I’m the father, I need to do it”.

Host:

What would you pinpoint as being fresh in this film? What do you think, you know, Nicky did that made it new for your like your younger daughter?

Jet Li:

Just the full verse. The whole culture has a lot of meanings, but it’s how to simplify it to the world? You need a loyalty to your country, to your culture and you’ll need a devotion to your family. Of course, you need to be brave for your future and your life. You don’t live in your father’s or mother’s shadow. You need to be you, you know, this is your life. That why I love the story.

Host:

Yes, I loved it too. I got to throw out one more question for you because I love film and you know you were also really impactful in the black community when you were in Romeo Must die with Aaliyah in 2000- it’s 20 years now. You know, you’re an Asian lead and she was a black lead. At that time, did you know how impactful it was to have you guys both on screen?

Jet Li:

I didn’t realize but I know a lot of people from Africa, you know America African, they love me. I am so glad I have a chance work with Aaliyah. I always remember she’s charming and beautiful. It’s a great experience in my life. Thank you for all African people for their supporting me. I love them.

Host:

Yeah, we love you too. Thank you so much.




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