Actress Liu Yifei has landed the coveted role of Mulan in Disney’s live-action adaptation.
The Chinese star has signed on to front director Niki Caro’s ambitious new project, and will play the gender-bending title character, who impersonates a man to honor her warrior father and fight against a Hun invasion.
After a year-long search by casting directors for someone with martial arts ability and star power, Liu has been tapped to take the part. The 30-year-old is widely known by the nickname “Fairy Sister” in the Chinese entertainment industry for her “sweet and delicate” image, and has also appeared in Hollywood features such as 2008’s The Forbidden Kingdom with Jackie Chan and 2014’s Outcast with Nicolas Cage and Hayden Christensen.
In addition to launching a singing career, she also serves as a brand ambassador for companies such as Tissot and Dior.
The original 1998 film featured the voices of Ming-Na Wen, Eddie Murphy, Miguel Ferrer, and BD Wong in the English version, with Jackie Chan providing his voice for Chinese dubs of the movie. It grossed $304 million (£225 million) worldwide.
Following news of the casting, Ming-Na, who previously urged Disney filmmakers to recruit a Chinese actress to portray the heroine, sent a message of congratulations to the star on her Twitter account.
“Congrats to #LiuYiFei ! Great choice for live action #Mulan!” she wrote.
Mulan, slated for release in 2019, will be Disney’s second film with a budget above $100 million (£75 million) to be directed by a woman, following Ava DuVernay signing on to adapt A Wrinkle in Time.
It’s also the latest in a string of live-action Disney remakes, which began with Maleficent back in 2014, starring Angelina Jolie and Elle Fanning.
Since then, there’s been Cinderella in 2015, The Jungle Book last year (16) as well as Beauty and the Beast, starring Emma Watson and Dan Stevens. The Lion King, featuring the voices of Beyonce and Donald Glover, is due for release in 2019.
– Cover Media0