After a long, worldwide search by Disney to find the perfect casting of Mulan in their forthcoming live-action adaptation, their search is over with the addition of Chinese actress Liu Yifei, who also goes by the name of Crystal Liu to play the female warrior.
Mulan is based on the Chinese legend of Hua Mulan, where Fa Mulan, daughter of aged warrior Fa Zhou, impersonates a man to take her father’s place during a general conscription to counter a Hun invasion. So it was important to Disney to find a cultural accurate actress to be able to fill the role, with Liu beating another 1,000 hopeful actress in the process.
Liu is no stranger to the bright lights of acting, within her own home country, she is one of the most popular starlets after breaking through with a number of hit TV dramas during the 2000’s. She has since gone on to star in films such as The Forbidden Kingdom, alongside Jackie Chan and Jet Li, and Outcast, opposite Nicolas Cage and Hayden Christensen, and starred opposite Emile Hirsch in Danish auteur Bille August’s period romance The Chinese Widow, which opened the Shanghai International Film Festival in June.
Disney’s animated version of Mulan was released in 1998 with Tom Bancroft and Barry Cook at the helm and featured the voices of Ming-Na, Eddie Murphy, Miguel Ferrer and B. D. Wong star in the English version, while Jackie Chan provided the voice of Captain Li Shang for the Chinese dubs of the film. The film made $304 million and earned itself a handful of Golden Globe and Academy Award nominations.
The Zookeeper’s Wife director Nick Caro will be taking the helm on Disney’s live-action Mulan, Chris Bender, Jason Reed and Jake Weiner will be producing the film which is expected to open in 2019.