Disney has had a lot of memorable characters, throughout their illustrious animated career. However, few empowered young women as much as 1998’s Mulan. The chinese warrior who disguised herself as a man to fight in her father’s army in 5th century China has been such an inspiration, Disney wanted to make sure they got the right woman to play her in their live-action adaptation. They spared no expense in their search, traveling across 5 continents and seeing more than 1,000 actresses, but in the end they found their star.
According to a report by THR, Liu Yifie, also known as Crystal Liu in China, has been cast to play the title character in Disney’s live-action Mulan.
If you’re unfamiliar with Liu, she spent the early part of her career in China, building her resume with several popular TV shows. She became so beloved, fans gave her the nickname “Fairy Sister” for her pure and innocent image. Later, she worked on 2012’s The Assassins and then played alongside with Jackie Chan and Jet Li in 2008’s The Forgotten Kingdom and opposite Nicholas Cage and Hayden Christensen in 2014’s Outcast. Recently, Liu has seen her latest film The Chinese Widow, co-starring Emile Hirsch, shown at the Shanghai International Film Festival.
This casting falls right in line with Disney’s M/O. They have always enjoyed plucking an unknown talent out of obscurity and into the limelight, they’ve done just that with Liu. Sure, she’s been an international star but now she gets an entirely new audience to charm. When Disney began this casting call, they wanted to avoid “white-washing” while still finding a quality star who was fluent in English. They accomplished all this with Liu Yifie.
Liu will now join director Niki Caro, who recently filmed The Zookeeper’s Wife, to try and have the live-action Mulan film released by 2019.