When Disney first announced the live-action adaptation of the popular Disney animated film, Mulan, it promised to find an actress worthy of playing the titular character and that it will do its best to keep in line with the cultural aspects of the film, particular that of having Chinese actors, rather than going down the highly controversial line of ‘whitewashing’ the ethnic characters.
It appears that Disney stayed true to their promise and have finally cast Chinese actress, Liu Yifei, also known as Crystal Liu, as the titular female warrior.
The journey was apparently arduous according to Hollywood Reporter, who reported that:
“A team of casting directors visited five continents and saw nearly 1,000 candidates for the role, which requires credible martial arts skills, the ability to speak English and the most ineffable requirement of all: star quality. In deference to cultural accuracy, the studio focused on locating an ethnically Chinese young woman to play Hua Mulan, who disguised herself as a man to take her father’s army conscription in fifth-century China.”
Liu is a popular actress in China and is fluent in English, having lived in New York for a number of years in her childhood. Her English film credits include both 2008’s The Forbidden Kingdom, alongside Jackie Chan and Jet Li, and 2014’s Outcast, opposite Nicolas Cage and Hayden Christensen.
I for one am glad that Disney has managed to find an actress who would be able to fully understand the cultural impact as well as the traditions of that time period, therefore being properly suited to carry out the role of one of my favourite Disney characters well.
To make things even better, Kiwi director, Niki Caro, who directed the hit 2002 film, Whale Rider, is directing Disney’s live-action Mulan, which is produced by Chris Bender, Jason Reed and Jake Weiner and eyeing a 2019 release.
I’m excited. Are you? Let us know in the comments below or over on social media @AttackOnGeek!