Disney’s live-action Mulan has found its star, and this one isn’t going to be a classic Hollywood whitewashing.
The studio has cast beloved Chinese actress Liu Yifei, known for roles in Chinese films including The Four. In a statement, Disney says that additional casting announcements will be made “in the coming weeks.”
Liu Yifei was one of the actresses we actually hoped would be cast as Mulan in an article we wrote in October 2016. As Selina wrote at the time, “Liu Yifei is a hugely successful actress in China, said to be one of the most beautiful Chinese actresses. A model, singer and actress, Yifei is known as ‘Fairy Sister’ in the entertainment industry for her sweet and delicate image.”
We also described her as a “solid bet” for Disney given her popularity in China, where the film will probably have huge success.
Yifei speaks English and will be able to pull off the martial arts skills required by the role. According to THR, Disney “focused on locating an ethnically Chinese young woman.”
Disney’s live-action Mulan is slated to hit theaters in 2019 with director Niki Caro (McFarland, USA and The Zookeeper’s Wife) at the helm.