On November 28, Disney announced that Liu YiFei had been chosen to play the titular lead in Mulan in the live-action remake of the beloved classic originally released in 1998.
And while her casting is a welcome change of pace from Hollywood’s standard modus operandi of Whitewashing, the choice is perhaps a bit perplexing, considering she’s rated by Chinese netizens as one of the worst actresses of all time.
According to Quartz, Douban, China’s version of IMDB, puts Liu’s current rating is 5.2 / 10 for all the movies in which she holds a starring role; generally speaking, a rating of 7-onward would be considered “good”. Her latest movie, “Once Upon A Time”, received a rating of 4.0, which is in the bottom 97th percentile of all fantasy romance films rated by Douban users.
One comment in particular seems to sum up their overall feelings about Liu’s acting capabilities: “Why does Liu Yifei still play every character like someone with facial palsy after so many years of acting,” said one netizen, with 8,000 others liking their comment.
It is perhaps then unsurprising that Liu has been dubbed as Douban’s worst actress, snagging the most votes during their annual fake award in 2012, 2013, and 2016.
Of course, Liu’s body of work isn’t all that bad, her more critically-acclaimed roles coming from her earlier years. Most of her roles were similar — young, innocent female protagonists — and many were adapted from martial-arts novels penned by Jin Young. When asked about her acting abilities, Young was quoted as saying “Ms. Liu looks pretty, but she is afraid of being ugly, and she doesn’t dare to make facial expressions.”
Mulan is set to be released some time in 2019.
Featured Image via Instagram / liuyifeibar