Jason Scott Lee Explains How His ‘Mulan’ Villain Differs From the Animated Version (Video)

Star of newest Disney remake plays a Rouran general bent on revenge

Last Updated: September 4, 2020 @ 12:06 PM

After a nearly six-month delay, “Mulan” is finally being released on-demand on Disney+, meaning that Disney fans will finally get to see all the horseback riding and sword fighting co-star Jason Scott Lee put into his performance as the villainous Bori Khan.

In an interview with TheWrap filmed in March prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, Lee discussed the changes made by director Niki Caro and her team to the 1998 animated film, as Disney’s newest remake blends elements from its predecessor with other elements from Chinese culture and history, including the original 4th century ballad that has inspired countless adaptations.

“I was doing my research on Bori Khan because I was interested in seeing whether he was a historical figure, and he was,” he said. “A lot of it is taking this memory of what [China] would look like, what it would be like, and creating this world that was roughly 500 A.D.”

Just as Niki Caro’s remake makes several changes from the 1998 animated Disney film, Bori Khan has some notable differences from his cartoon counterpart, the black-eyed Hun leader Shan Yu. While Shan Yu was merely focused on conquest, Bori Khan’s attack on China is far more personal as he seeks revenge on the Emperor (played by Jet Li) for the death of his father.

“We’ve taken a more historical tack with the Rouran people, who were sort of northern invaders,” Lee said. “Bori Khan’s sort of stripped down, lean and mean, and he’s working alongside a witch [played by Gong Li] to take over China.”

This isn’t Lee’s first go-around with Disney. He’s also lent his voice to David, the laid-back Hawaiian surfer in “Lilo & Stitch,” which is also due up for a live-actoin remake. To hear his thoughts on possibly coming back for that film, check out the clip above.”Mulan” is available to Disney+ subscribers for $29.99 starting this Friday and will be available for no additional cost on the streaming service starting Dec. 4.