Chinese Actress Liu Yifei Cast as Mulan

Actress Liu Yifei has been cast as Mulan in Disney’s live action adaptation of the hit 1998 animated film.

The Hollywood Reporter announced that Chinese actress Liu Yifei (The Forbidden Kingdom, The Chinese Widow), who also goes by Crystal Liu, will play the titular character in Disney’s live action adaptation of Mulan.  The movie will be directed by Niki Caro (Whale Rider) with Jason Reed, Chris Bender, and Jake Weiner producing, and Bill Kong executive producing.   It is reported that the casting directors searched five continents and approximately 1,000 candidates for an ethnically accurate actress (white-washing has become a major criticism in Hollywood tentpoles) who would best fit the role that requires “credible martial arts skills, the ability to speak English and the most ineffable requirement of all: star quality.”  Here’s what the report from THR said about Liu:

“In Liu, Disney found the complete package. Nicknamed “Fairy Sister” by the Chinese public for her pure and innocent looks and image, she has been one of the country’s most popular actresses of the current generation since breaking out with a series of hit television dramas in the mid-2000s, while she was still a teenager enrolled in the Beijing Film Academy. She is fluent in English, having lived in Queens, N.Y., for part of her childhood, and acted in English in both 2008’s The Forbidden Kingdom, alongside Jackie Chan and Jet Li, and 2014’s Outcast, opposite Nicolas Cage and Hayden Christensen. She also starred opposite Emile Hirsch in Danish auteur Bille August’s period romance The Chinese Widow, which opened the Shanghai International Film Festival in June.”

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Specifics of the film have not been disclosed, but it is believed to be a combination of the “ballad of the legendary Hua Mulan” and the original animated Disney film.   Sean Bailey, the president of Motion Picture Production at Walt Disney Studios, previously indicated that unlike the adaptations of Beauty and the Beast and Aladdin, Mulan will not prominently feature songs.  While it is difficult to imagine a Disney adaptation of their classic film without such memorable songs as “I’ll Make A Man Out of You” or “Girl Worth Fighting For”, I’m looking forward to this movie following the successes of Cinderella and Jungle Book (even though I was underwhelmed by Beauty and the Beast).

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What do you think?  Are you excited to see Liu Yifei in the role of Mulan in Disney’s live action adaptation?  Share your thoughts in the discussion board below.  Mulan arrives in theaters in 2019.

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