Disney bared that Chinese-American actress Liu Yifei to play Mulan in the live-action remake of the 1998 classic film of the same name and got everyone excited.
Disney chose the actress, who is also known as Crystal Liu, among nearly 1,000 candidates who auditioned for the titular role.
Who is the new Mulan?
While this is Yifei’s biggest international break yet, she is already a decorated actress in China.
She starred in esteemed Chinese shows such as “Once Upon a Time” and “The Assassins.” Meanwhile, she got supporting roles in Western movies “Outcast” and “The Forbidden Kingdom” alongside iconic artists Jet Li and Jackie Chan.
Aside from acting, Yifei is also a model who endorses big brands such as Dior, Pantene and Tissot and appears in mainstream magazines in her home country.
Furthermore, the 30-year-old actress is also a trained pianist with a brief singing career, which makes her perfect to sing for Mulan if the live-action would be the same musical one.
No more whitewashing this time
Disney also revealed other members of the cast of the much-anticipated movie—Donnie Yen, Jason Scott Lee, Yoson An, Utkarsh Ambudkar, Ron Yuan, Tzi Ma, Rosalind Chao, Cheng Pei-Pei, Nelson Lee, Chum Ehelepola, Gong Li and Jet Li.
Such group of actors with Chinese origins fulfills the film studio’s promise to get the casting right, amid Hollywood’s bad record of whitewashing Asian or non-American characters in producing films.
Disney also disclosed that it chose award-winning director Nikola Jean “Niki” Caro to lead the production, which will take place in New Zealand and China. The target release date of Mulan is on Mar. 27, 2020.
Other recent successful live-action remakes produced are the Jungle Book, Cinderella and Beauty and the Beast.
The original Chinese ballad
It’s still not known whether the retelling will remain true to the animated musical version or adapt the original centuries-old story of Mulan.
Some users echoed this concern on social media, saying that Mulan’s tale does not have songs or dragons which Disney popularized.
Others, however, said that they will be disappointed if the upcoming one will not have these elements that are typical for in Disney’s well-loved films.
Filipinos, meanwhile, aired their excitement on social media over Disney’s release. Tony award-winner Lea Salonga sang the iconic song “Reflection” in the animated show.
— Dale ? (@daleygaga) August 14, 2018
Donnie Yen and Jet Li in Mulan 2020??? I'm in
— Carlos Velarde (@cvelards) August 13, 2018
Disney’s Mulan is inspired from a Chinese folk ballad called “Ballad of Mulan” that dates back during the North Wei Dynasty (386 AD – 557 AD).
Disney’s adaptation, similar to the original one, tells of a young woman taking the place of her old and ailing father who was supposed to be recruited to go to war. — Artwork by Uela Altar-Badayos