Chinese actress Liu Yifei, also known as Crystal Liu, has been cast as the beloved protagonist of the live-action adaptation of Disney’s 1998 animated film “Mulan”.
Sorry, Scarlett Johansson.
In its search to find the star of the film, Disney was adamant about trying to cast an ethnically Chinese actress who possesses martial arts badassery and is able to speak English, according to the Hollywood Reporter.
Casting directors traversed five continents and auditioned 1,000 candidates before eventually choosing 30-year-old Liu for the role of Hua Mulan, who impersonates a man to take her father’s army conscription and fight against the Huns in fifth-century China.
Nicknamed “Fairy Sister”, Liu got her start in a series of hit Chinese TV dramas in the mid-2000s while she took classes at the Beijing Film Academy.
She starred in films such as “The Forbidden Kingdom” opposite martial arts legends Jackie Chan and Jet Li in 2008, “Outcast” with Nicolas Cage and Hayden Christensen in 2014, and “Ip Man 3” with Donnie Yen and Mike Tyson in 2015.
Liu lived in Queens, New York when she was younger, and is obsessed with adorable cats.
Liu can recently be seen in “The Chinese Widow” alongside Emile Hirsch, and “Once Upon a Time”, which garnered $82.3 million in China over the summer.
Directed by Niki Caro and produced by Chris Bender, Jason Reed, and Jake Weiner, with Bill Kong serving as executive producer, Disney’s live-action “Mulan” is set for a 2019 release and fans of the original film couldn’t contain their excitement on Twitter.
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