The release of Disney’s live-action Mulan remake has been in the works for a long time. Filming took place way back in 2018 at some truly incredible locations. The official trailer was then released in late 2019, which revealed a 27th March 2020 premiere date. Unfortunately, due to COVID-19 concerns, the premiere was pushed and pushed again. Finally, though, Mulan is available to watch on Disney+.
Disney’s live-action Mulan was primarily filmed in China and New Zealand. Back in 2017, director Niki Caro shared photos on Instagram of her time spent location scouting in China. She stopped in the cities of Xi’an, Dunhuang, and Ürümqi, as well as Zhangye National Geopark. Caro and her team landed on two key locations in China for the film: a Tang Dynasty city in Xiangyang in the Hubei Province and Hengdien in Zhejiang Province.
In an Instagram post shared back in May, Caro explained that finding a location for the scenes set in the Imperial City was one of the biggest production challenges. “During the Tang Dynasty, the Imperial City was the largest and most sophisticated city in the world and a golden time in cosmopolitan culture,” she wrote. “We were fortunate to discover a Tang Dynasty city in Xiangyang, in the Hubei Province. That was the good news. The trickier part was navigating the fact that it’s a wildly popular tourist attraction, which led to all kinds of tricky shooting and scheduling.”
For the establishing shot of the Imperial Palace, Caro and her team looked to Hengdien in the Zhejiang province. “We needed stairs — the more dramatic the better — for a couple of essential moments in the movie,” Caro said in another Instagram post. These same stairs were also featured in the 2002 film Hero.
New Zealand was the other main place where the movie was filmed. Location scouting took Caro and her team to the Goblin Forest of Taranaki and Flock Hill in Canterbury, among other spots. Select scenes were also shot at Kumeu Film Studios in Aukland.
In a video for the New Zealand Film Commission, the film’s production designer Grant Major said, “Mulan is set in China, and I was looking for the sort of Chinese aspects within New Zealand, and it did have a lot to offer.” According to the video, filming took place around the Omarama Clay Cliffs and Lake Pukaki. Ahuriri Park was tapped as the location for the movie’s most epic battle scene, which featured 900 people.
In one of her many Instagram posts that shared production details, director Niki Caro recommended viewing the live-action remake on “the largest possible screen” in order to experiences these many spectacular locations in all their glory — or, as much glory as possible. Unfortunately, since Mulan is being released on VOD, for now, we’ll only get to see the Hengdien steps, Ahuriri Park, and more on our televisions screens. However, we’re already blown away by the looks of some of these locations, and we’ve only seen them online. So we’re pretty sure the scenery will still be a highlight of our viewing.
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