artemis fowl Nonso Anozie

There are some unusual requirements to play a bodyguard to a 12-year-old criminal mastermind. For Nonso Anozie, who reunites with his Cinderella director Kenneth Branagh in the upcoming Disney fantasy movie Artemis Fowla few things he had to add to his resume were kendo fighting and “troll fighting.” More so the kendo, as the troll fighting would be mostly done by his stunt double.

“But I did a little stunt this morning, being pushed over by the troll,” Anozie told a group of journalists on the set of Artemis Fowl in 2018.

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artemis fowl josh gad

Josh Gad seems to have a penchant for playing wacky supporting characters in Disney fantasy films. After the wild success of his sentient snowman Olaf in Frozen, the actor has appeared as the foppish Lefou in the live-action adaptation of Beauty and the Beast, and now as Mulch Diggums in the upcoming Artemis Fowl. The kleptomaniac dwarf is a fan-favorite of Eoin Colfer’s books, the first of which Gad read to prepare for the part, but the thing that drew him to the project was the chance to play in a “high-concept fantasy world” with his Murder on the Orient Express director Kenneth Branagh.

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artemis fowl fairy world

When you think of fairy tales and all they encompass — elves, dwarves, centaurs — your mind immediately jumps to the mystical, the faraway lands. But the fairy world of Artemis Fowl is a lot closer to our urban sprawl, in more ways than one.

The fairies of Kenneth Branagh‘s upcoming Disney adaptation of the beloved Eoin Colfer fantasy novels live deep underground, far from the prying eyes of the human world. But they’re not living in phosphorescent caves or gleaming crystal castles. The fairy world is a sleek high-tech utopia with technologies that far exceed those of humanity.

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artemis fowl set visit report

The prevailing magic of children’s fantasy stories is seeing our intrepid heroes come of age in the most fantastical of situations. They enter this strange world timid, unsure, and insecure, and emerge from it a changed, emboldened hero. But Eoin Colfer‘s Artemis Fowl gave us a different kind of hero. In fact, the titular Artemis Fowl was no hero at all.

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mulan chinese audiences

I’ll admit I didn’t know much of the original Ballad of Mulan when I set foot on the set of Disney’s live-action remake of Mulan two years ago. Like many others, I had grown up watching Disney’s animated Mulan thinking of the heroine as a feminist icon (though one typical of the ’90s version of the concept): she was a tomboy, she was an outsider, she was too rambunctious, too independent. But most importantly, Mulan was the lone Disney princess who looked a little like me. Though I didn’t share her cultural identity, it meant something to a 6-year-old Asian American — and thousands of other Asian-Americans — who had never seen herself represented on the big screen.

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There are many elements that seem to set Disney’s live-action remake of Mulan apart from other Disney remakes, but two of them stand out the most: it’s not a musical, and it doesn’t feature any of the wacky sidekicks that made the 1998 animated film so beloved.

While the live-action remake directed by Niki Caro seems to take the serious war epic approach to the story of Fa Mulan, the Chinese folk hero and Disney heroine, producer Jason Reed teased to /Film during a visit to the set of Mulan that some of the elements of the beloved 1998 animated film will make their way into the film. You might just have to go on the hunt for them.

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How ‘Mulan’ Approaches Its LGBTQ Romance [Set Visit]

mulan lgbt

Disney has been championing more progressive diversity representation in their films in recent years, but have tread lightly when it comes to LGBTQ elements making their way into international releases. So that makes the live-action remake of Mulan a bit of a conundrum.

In the original 1998 animated film, the central romance was between Mulan, disguising herself as a man, and her commanding officer Li Shang, who was implied to be attracted to Mulan despite thinking her to be a man. That dynamic turned Shang into “sort of an LGBTQ icon,” producer Jason Reed acknowledged to /Film on the set of Niki Caro‘s Mulan. But while Disney has withheld LGBTQ elements from releases in China before, Reed assures that the romance will “play the same way as it does in the animated [film].”

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mulan love interest

It was a question heard around the world when the casting for Disney’s live-action remake of Mulan came out: Where is Shang? The commanding officer and romantic interest of the 1998 Mulan provided an unexpected LGBTQ element to the film (as well as many a sexual awakening for a young moviegoer). But the hunky character’s name was nowhere to be seen in the cast list. Would Disney be doing away with the pseudo-homoerotic romance that made the animated Mulan feel so groundbreaking? Not quite.

Worry not: the live-action Mulan will still have a strong central romance, but Liu Yifei‘s Mulan will instead be flirting with a fellow conscript instead of her commanding officer. In the live-action remake, Li Shang has been split into two characters: Donnie Yen‘s Commander Tung and Yoson An‘s soldier Chen Honghui. The change stems from the Me Too movement currently overtaking Hollwood.

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mulan hair

It was an iconic scene in Walt Disney Animation’s 1998 film Mulan: in despair that her injured father was going to be sent off to likely die in war, Mulan weeps underneath a giant stone dragon statue, uncaring that she’s caught in a downpour. Suddenly, as Jerry Goldsmith‘s intense score swells to a crescendo, Mulan looks up with a steely resolve. The montage is epic and frightful, Mulan heading first to her ancestral shrine to light an incense stick then to her sleeping parents’ room to leave her comb. Then she descends on her father’s armory, unsheathing his sword and — flinching for a second — using it to cut her long hair.

It’s a strong, impactful scene that is still remembered today as a formative feminist moment for audiences who grew up watching it. But it’s nowhere to be seen in Disney’s upcoming live-action remake of Mulan. Read More »

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mulan set visit report

Resplendently armored Chinese army generals sit atop horses in a valley nestled in the middle of a mighty mountainscape, fluttering yellow and red flags surrounding them and dust billowing in from a wind machine. Not that they need one — the natural wind of the New Zealand countryside acting as the Chinese battlefield on the set of the live-action remake of Mulan is strong enough. It’s the kind of wind that blows through your hair until the separate strands cut into your face, and pierces through your coat to settle into your bones.

But Mulan star Liu Yifei is paying no mind to the wind, even as it whips her long hair around her face in such a wild frenzy that her eyes can barely be seen on the monitors. She’s poised, stony-faced, her simple robe the one bright flash of red among the weather-beaten, dirt-covered soldiers who ready themselves to charge against the invading Rouran army, a battlefield strewn with dead horses and soldiers stretching out between them. Yifei is running through the climactic battle scene of Mulan: the zenith of the film in which the mythic Chinese warrior has now revealed her identity to the world.

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