Entertainment Weekly's coverage of the story showing Liu Yifei, November 30, 2017 - Entertainment Weekly/Youtube
CAIRO – 30 November 2017: Disney cast Chinese superstar Liu Yifei as Mulan in the upcoming live-action remake of the beloved 1998 animated film.
Yifei is one of China’s most popular actresses and is known as the “Fairy Sister” because of her delicate beauty and roles in numerous fantasy films. News of her selection was met with celebration in China and abroad, especially following waves of dissatisfaction against Hollywood for its persistent casting of Caucasians as Asian characters.
One recent example is this year’s science-fiction film “Ghost in the Shell,” which saw actress Scarlett Johansson in the role of a Japanese character, which drew heavy criticism and demands to boycott the production. The casting of Yifei marks a step forward for diversity in the mainstream film industry. Amongst the voices of approval is Chinese-American actress Ming-Na Wen, who voiced Mulan in the 1998 film.
Yifei's previous Hollywood roles include starring alongside Jackie Chan and Jet Li in 2008’s “The Forbidden Kingdom” and in 2014’s “Outcast,” where she co-starred with Nicholas Cage. Fluent in English and martial arts along with her star qualities, Yifei fit the necessary requirements for the role of Mulan and was chosen from 1,000 other likely candidates across five continents.
An online petition asking for a Chinese actress to star as Mulan in the upcoming remake reached more than 100,000 signatures before it shut down; the casting of Yifei was a great success.
The upcoming live-action “Mulan” remake will be directed by Niki Caro of “The Zookeeper’s Wife” and is expected to be released in 2019.
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