After a year-long search, Disney has finally found an actress to play the leading role in its upcoming live-action adaptation of the classic tale, Mulan.
Chinese actress Liu Yifei, also known as Crystal Liu, has been confirmed to play the iconic titular role of the title woman warrior in Disney's upcoming film.
Who Is Liu Yifei?
Liu is an incredibly popular actress in China who has earned the nickname, "Fairy Sister," from fans because of her sweet and innocent appearance and personality.
The 30-year-old shot to fame after featuring in a number of hit Chinese television dramas over the last decade. A graduate of the Beijing Film Academy, Liu speaks fluent English and also lived in New York City during her childhood years.
Disney's upcoming re-telling won't be Liu's first Hollywood project, though. She starred in the Chinese-American 2008 film, The Forbidden Kingdom, alongside Jackie Chan and Jet Li and also featured in 2014's Outcast, which starred Nicholas Cage and Hayden Christensen. Furthermore, she also appeared in Ip Man 3, with Donnie Yen and Mike Tyson and starred opposite Emile Hirsch in Bille August's 2017 war drama, The Chinese Widow.
Liu has also served as an ambassador for several big brands including Dior, Pantene, Tissot as well as Garnier. She was last seen in the epic fantasy romance, Once Upon a Time, which grossed $82.3 million at the Chinese box office in summer.
A Worldwide Search For Lead Character
Liu was announced as the lead after a year of speculation over who should star in the upcoming Disney film with Jamie Chung, Constance Wu, Kristin Kreuk and Celina Jade among the contenders.
A team of casting directors traveled across the globe and sorted through nearly 1,000 candidates before singling out Liu for the role, which required the candidate to possess star quality, credible martial arts skills, speak fluent English, and of course, be of Asian origin.
Disney announced last year that the Mulan reboot would feature an all-Asian cast after fans started a petition to make sure the film is not whitewashed by Hollywood again.
Who Is Mulan?
In the upcoming film, Liu will play the titular role of Hua Mulan, a legendary woman warrior who disguises herself as a man in order to enlist herself in the army and take her feeble father's place in 5th century China.
The classic Chinese tale was adapted into an animated film by Disney in 1998 followed by a direct-to-video sequel, Mulan II, in 2004. The upcoming Niki Caro-directed film joins a long list of films that Disney is giving the live-action treatment to, which includes The Lion King, The Little Mermaid, Dumbo, and Aladdin.