Zhang Ziyi Is Mulan

Jan de Bont will direct the drama

For many of us in the UK (and across the pond), the name Mulan is most closely associated with the Disney take on the tale of the heroic young female soldier who joins an all-male army. But it has its origins in a 6th century poem, and now Zhang Ziyi is aiming to embody her in a new Chinese/English co-production, with Jan de Bont at the helm.

The indie-financed film will follow Hua Mulan through a script by John Blickstead as she tackles enemy troops, helps her family and even finds time for romance.

De Bont, of course, has a little bit of experience will kick-ass female characters, having unleashed the second Lara Croft film on the world. Or maybe we shouldn’t mention that, since it wasn't that great and was also the last film he made as a director, way back in 2003. So at the very least he should be happy to get back behind the camera.

“This is the first independent film directed by Jan de Bont, whose worldwide box office track record is huge,” producer Ying Ye told The Hollywood Reporter. Presumably not adding, “We’re trying not to think about the fact that he also made Speed 2: Cruise Control, of course.”

Despite the indie budget, de Bont will have access to the massive Hengdian World Studios in China, and will start shooting shortly, once the rest of the cast is in place.