Disney is casting a Chinese actress to take on the role of Mulan. Shouldn’t be so hard, considering the wealth of talented actresses of Chinese descent out there — but here are seven excellent choices to kickstart the search.
The live-action Mulan remake has the potential to be excellent. Especially now that we know Disney is looking for a Chinese lead actress, an announcement that followed a massive fan campaign to make sure Hollywood didn’t whitewash another Asian character.
Disney has launched a worldwide search to find the right Chinese actress to play the iconic, female warrior. They’ll likely be seeing hundreds of women, some of them complete unknowns, and we’re sure they’ll pick the right person. But we’ve collected a small sample of actresses of Chinese and Hong Kongese descent who we think would do an excellent job in the role.
‘Mulan‘ live-action actress casting ideas
Is your favorite choice represented on the list, or do you have another suggestion? Tell us your Mulan live-action casting choice in the comments!
1. Ming-Na Wen
Let’s be real: There’s no way we wouldn’t put Ming-Na Wen at the top of this list. As Mulan fans know, the Chinese-American actress voiced Mulan in the animated movie, and is currently showing off her impressive fighting skills on Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.
The only problem? Wen is 52 years old, and while we wouldn’t be totally against Hollywood casting a little older than range for a change, Mulan is obviously meant to be a very young woman whom her family is trying to marry off, so realistically, Disney is probably going to cast someone younger. But if Ming-Na Wen is not somehow involved with this movie, it would be a travesty.
2. Celina Jade
Born in Hong Kong, Celina Jade got her start in the Chinese film industry before moving to America, where she is best known for her role as Shado on The CW series Arrow.
Not only is Jade a compelling actress, she’s also a trained martial artist. And as for the third criteria: Yes, she can sing; she released her first, self-titled album in 2012.
3. Katie Leung
Scottish-born Katie Leung is of Hong Kongese descent and speaks fluent Cantonese along with some Mandarin. She is best known for her role as Cho Chang in Harry Potter, and while that role didn’t give her much chance to prove her ass-kicking skills, her later projects have revealed an edge and intensity, along with a vulnerability, that would make her a great Mulan.
Leung has primarily acted in British series and indie films, but she’s currently filming the action thriller The Foreigner with Jackie Chan and Pierce Brosnan.
4. Gemma Chan
Former model and actress Gemma Chan currently plays the robot Anita on the British sci-fi drama Humans, and has previously featured on Doctor Who and Secret Diary of a Call Girl.
Chan’s movie roles include Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruits and The Double. Mulan would be a very different, but not unwelcome role for the talented actress.
5. Liu Yifei
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.
“Sweet” and “delicate” may not be the first two words you think of in relation to Mulan, but Yifei has plenty of action experience with roles in The Four series, The Assassins and the American-Chinese Outcast. She’s a huge name in China, and Disney is probably going to bank on scoring major points with the Chinese market with this film; likely they’ll be looking for a recognizable star, and Yifei is a solid bet.
6. Michelle Ang
Michelle Ang is a New Zealand actress of Malaysian Chinese descent. ’90s kids (#represent) might remember her from the ever-underrated TV series The Tribe, but she’s had a prolific acting career since then. Her most recent role was in Triple 9, where she starred opposite Chiwetel Ejiofor, Anthony Mackie, Kate Winslet and Woody Harrelson.
Audiences might also remember her from the Fear the Walking Dead: Flight 462 web series, and the iconic Australian soap Neighbors.
7. JuJu Chan
JuJu Chan is a Hong Kongese actress, best known to American audiences for her role in Netflix’s Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon: Sword of Destiny.
Chan might be the most qualified actress on the list as far as physical competences go: Having been nicknamed both the next Michelle Yeoh and the Female Bruce Lee by fans, she’s a professional Taekwon-Do and Kung Fu athlete, and has won several competitions.
Which Chinese actress do you want to see cast as Mulan in Disney’s live-action reboot?
Remember: Give us your Mulan live-action casting ideas below!