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

01 December, 2017, 06:35 | Author: Miranda Cannon
  • Liu Yifei in 2014
Credit Visual China Group

China's Liu Yifei has beaten about 1,000 candidates to win the title role in Disney's upcoming live-action remake of Mulan.

More casting announcements regarding "Mulan" will be made in the coming weeks, Disney said. News of her selection was met with celebration in China and overseas, especially following waves of dissatisfaction against Hollywood for its persistent casting of Caucasians as Asian characters. In case you're not familiar with just about every 90s kid's best childhood memories, Mulan is an animated movie about a young Chinese woman, Hua Mulan, who disguises as a man to take her ailing father's place in the battlefield in 5th century China.

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

It's reported a team of casting directors visited five continents and spoke to almost 1,000 candidates for the role which required credible martial arts skills and the ability to speak English.


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.

Disney's upcoming re-telling won't be Liu's first Hollywood project, though.

Liu also stood out because Disney were looking for an ethnic Chinese woman in order to defer to cultural accuracy. She has also worked with Emile Hirsch in The Chinese Widow, which opened in the Shanghai International Film Festival in June this year. She also had a role in 2014's "Outcast", which stars Nicolas Cage and Hayden Christensen, and 2008's "The Forbidden Kingdom", starring Jackie Chan and Jet Li.

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