What ever happened to Jan de Bont?
The Dutch director of such thrilling action blockbusters as "Speed" and "Twister" hasn't been heard from since 2003 after he unleashed the truly terrible trio of "Speed 2: Cruise Control," "The Haunting" and "Lara Craft Tomb Raider: The Cradle of Life" upon the world.
The Hollywood Reporter brings word that de Bont will direct Chinese superstar Zhang Ziyi in an English-language, live-action, international co-production of "Mulan" that's set to start shooting outside Shanghai this fall.
I can't believe this is what de Bont's career has come to. "Speed" and "Twister" are two of my favorite '90s movies (the latter is crying out for a sequel), and just last year, I was suggesting that Paramount consider him for "Mission: Impossible 4." He's still a capable action filmmaker, so it's a little disheartening to see him banished from Hollywood and forced to work overseas.
Maybe Hollywood feels that de Bont isn't ready to direct its blockbusters again, but he's waited long enough for another shot on a mid-budget action movie, something like "Vantage Point" or "Shooter." "Mulan" seems like a curious decision to say the least, but the guy's gotta eat, right?
John Blickstead wrote the "Mulan" script, which is based on the sixth-century poem about a legendary female soldier who joins an all-male army.
Disney released an animated "Mulan" movie in 1998, and the fearless heroine was last seen on screen in "Hua Mulan," which starred Chinese actress Zhao Wei.
Zhang previously starred in Ang Lee's "Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon," Wong Kar Wei's "2046" and Zhang Yimou's "House of Flying Daggers" and "Hero," the latter of which is the highest-grossing Chinese film export of all-time. She's best known to American audiences for starring in Rob Marshall's "Memoirs of a Geisha" and Brett Ratner's "Rush Hour 2."
Zhang's agency, WME, will handle North American rights to the project.