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Film News Roundup: Disney’s ‘Mulan’ Adds Yoson An as Love Interest

In today’s film news roundup, Disney’s live-action “Mulan” casts a key role, Skydance bulks up its animation operations, and former Disney distribution chief Dave Hollis unveils a one-night theatrical event. 

CASTING

Disney has cast New Zealand actor Yoson An for the key male role in its live-action “Mulan,” directed by Niki Caro.

An will star opposite Liu Yifei, who is playing the heroine Hua Mulan. She disguises herself as a man in order to spare her elderly father from having to join the military. An will play Chen Honghui, a confident and ambitious recruit who becomes Mulan’s ally and eventual love interest.

The film is a remake of Disney’s 1998 animated film. Jet Li will play the emperor of China, Gong Li will portray a powerful witch, and Donnie Yen will be Mulan’s mentor, Commander Tung. Chris Bender, Jason Reed, and Jake Weiner are producing the movie.

The film’s release is set for March 27, 2020. It’s slated to start shooting in August in China and New Zealand. An’s previous credits include the HBO Asia series “Grace,” upcoming shark thriller “The Meg,” and Universal’s “Mortal Engines.” He’s repped by Auckland Actors in New Zealand and Silver Lining Entertainment.

EXECUTIVE APPOINTMENTS

Skydance Media has named Ian Sheppard as senior VP of development for animation and Lawrence Jonas as executive in charge of animated television.

Sheppard will be responsible for overseeing the creative development of feature films and television series for Skydance’s animation division and Jonas will oversee all aspects of production for the upcoming slate of high-end television series. Both Sheppard and Jonas will report to Bill Damaschke, president of animation and family entertainment.

Prior to joining Skydance, Sheppard was VP of development at DreamWorks Animation Television and developed “Voltron: Legendary Defender,” “Trolls: The Beat Goes on,” “Dawn of the Croods,” “The Boss Baby: Back in Business,” and “The Adventures of Puss in Boots.” Before DreamWorks Animation, he spent nine years at Nickelodeon.

Before joining Skydance, Jonas spent six years at DreamWorks Animation Television, becoming a four-time Emmy-nominated line producer on the Guillermo del Toro series “Trollhunters,” “3 Below,” and “Dragons: Race to the Edge.”

Skydance launched its animation division in March, 2017, and formed a multi-year partnership with Madrid-based Ilion Animation Studios to develop and produce a slate of animated feature films and TV series.

FATHOM EVENT

Dave Hollis, who recently stepped down as head of distribution at Disney, made his first announcement about in his new role with the Hollis Company with his wife, Rachel Hollis.

The company announced Wednesday that it is teaming with Fathom Events’ one-night screening of “Rachel Hollis Presents: Made for More” on Aug. 2. The feature content will be followed by an exclusive Q&A with Rachel Hollis, a motivational speaker and the best-selling author of “Girl, Wash Your Face.”

The film includes a behind-the-scenes look into the production of Hollis’ two-day RISE conference. Fathom, which is jointly owned by the AMC, Cinemark, and Regal chains, plans to bring “Rachel Hollis Presents: Made for More” to nearly 600 movie theaters.

“We’re excited to give audiences an exclusive look into the making of RISE and what’s sure to be an insightful Q&A with Rachel – all on the big screen,” said Fathom Events CEO Ray Nutt. “Rachel’s uplifting message and real-world insight will resonate with viewers and create a community inside and outside the theater.”

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