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Donny Osmond rolls with the punches for 'Mulan' success

Web posted on: Wednesday, July 08, 1998 5:36:46 PM

From Correspondent Mark Scheerer

LOS ANGELES (CNN) -- Donny Osmond has been beating himself up lately. The singer, who rose to fame at a very early age in the 1970s, hasn't gone masochistic. He's just trying to be realistic -- in his role as a cartoon.

Osmond is the singing voice of Shang, the courageous army leader in Disney's "Mulan." In one scene, when Shang gets hit, Osmond wanted the voice to be accurate, so he punched himself -- over and over again.

"There's this one part where Shang gets hit in the stomach and I have to sing like I'm getting hit in the stomach," Osmond recalls. "So for an hour I'm hitting myself in the stomach. I was black and blue after that session."

Osmond is the singing voice for Shang

Family: Thumbs-up

Despite being a household name since childhood -- beginning with his fame with the singing siblings The Osmonds, to his hit series "Donny and Marie," and a nearly five-year run as the star of the Broadway musical "Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat" -- it took a small gig in "Mulan" to make him a hit in his own home.

"I took my wife and children to the premiere of 'Mulan' a couple weeks ago," Osmond says. "During the song, I look down and they're just smiling ear to ear. They're like 'Yeah Dad. That's my dad up there.' And afterwards they said, 'You know Dad, now that you've done a Disney film, you're successful."

Listen to a clip of Osmond singing in the role of Shang

920k QuickTime movie

380k QuickTime audio file
Sound courtesy Walt Disney Pictures

Winning the part

"Mulan"'s $23 million opening outmuscled the first weekend total for last year's hero flick, "Hercules," which Osmond auditioned for as well.

"They said 'You're too old,' and it kinda killed me a little bit," Osmond confesses. "So they called me a few months later and said, 'We're doing "Mulan" and we compared all of your audition tapes to B.D. Wong, who's doing all the spoken parts, and you've got very similar voices.'"

Osmond's future plans include a film version of "Joseph," a Christmas album, and re-teaming with his sister Marie for a talk show.

"It's not gonna be the same kind of show we did in the '70s," Osmond says. "It's more of an entertainment/talk show."

But for now, Osmond will bask in the glow of a "Mulan," a performance with a few hard knocks, but plenty of compliments from the most important critics -- his family.

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