Disney casts Chinese actress in remake of Mulan amid Hollywood whitewashing claims

Tomas Mccoy
December 1, 2017

Chinese actress Liu Yifei, also known as Crystal Liu, was picked out of almost one thousand candidates to play the lead role.

Disney is getting down to business with a new "Mulan." The newcomer will star as Hua Mulan, who disguised herself as a man to take her father's army conscription in fifth-century China.

The live-action adaptation is set for a 2019 release and has lined up Niki Caro as director.

Yifei, who is also known as Crystal Liu, filled the casting directors' brief of having martial arts skills, fluent English and "star quality". Then, came the concern about who's going to play the Chinese heroine because the fans are not ready to handle another series of Hollywood whitewashing in Asian roles.

Liu Yifei

A team of casting directors visited five continents and saw almost 1,000 candidates for the role, which requires credible martial arts skills, the ability to speak English and the most ineffable requirement of all: star quality. According to The Hollywood Reporter, the casting directors travelled to five continents in search for the ideal candidate who is ethnically Chinese and equipped with martial arts skills, the ability to speak English, and of course, star quality. You may have heard about 2017's "The Chinese Widow", in which she starred alongside Emile Hirsch. She also worked alongside Jackie Chan and Jet Li in the 2008 fantasy action film "The Forbidden Kingdom".

Yifei's casting was praised by Ming-Na Wen, the Chinese-American actress who voiced Mulan for the Chinese translation of the animated film.

After a year-long search and a few bumps in the road when certain issues followed the upcoming live-action remake, Disney finally found its "Mulan".


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