While there’s still a long way to go, the Walt Disney Co. is working hard toward better gender equality when it comes to directing big-budget films after signing Niki Caro to produce its live-action version of Mulan.
Caro, whose latest film The Zookeeper’s Wife is set to hit theaters at the end of next month, will take on Disney’s attempt to de-animate its animated classics. The live-action version of Mulan follows a trend that began all the way back in 2010 with Alice in Wonderland, and is set to continue March 17 with Beauty and the Beast.
Caro is just the second woman to helm a Disney film with a budget more than $100 million, according to The Hollywood Reporter, following Ava DuVernay’s work on A Wrinkle in Time.
Caro is best known, most likely, for her first hit as a director, Whale Rider in 2002, which starred Keisha Castle-Hughes among others. More recently, Caro directed McFarland USA, which earned $45.7 million globally.
Disney says it remains committed to ensuring Mulan finds a Chinese cast, including the lead for its title role. To help bolster that, the studio has added Bill Kong as an executive producer. He was nominated for an Oscar in 2001 for Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon.