Disney went out on a year-long worldwide hunt for the perfect actress to take on the lead role in their live-action adaptation of Mulan… and they found her! Chinese actress Liu Yifei, also known as Crystal Liu, will take on the lead role in the movie.
Disney and the creative team traveled to five continents and auditioned nearly 1,000 candidates for the role. They were looking for someone with “credible martial arts skills, the ability to speak English and the most ineffable requirement of all: star quality.” Variety goes on to explain why Liu was ultimately cast in the film saying:
In Liu, Disney found the complete package. Nicknamed “Fairy Sister” by the Chinese public for her pure and innocent looks and image, she has been one of the country’s most popular actresses of the current generation since breaking out with a series of hit television dramas in the mid-2000s, while she was still a teenager enrolled in the Beijing Film Academy. She is fluent in English, having lived in Queens, N.Y., for part of her childhood, and acted in English in both 2008’s The Forbidden Kingdom, alongside Jackie Chan and Jet Li, and 2014’s Outcast, opposite Nicolas Cage and Hayden Christensen. She also starred opposite Emile Hirsch in Danish auteur Bille August’s period romance The Chinese Widow, which opened the Shanghai International Film Festival in June.
Liu, who has served as a brand ambassador for Dior, Tissot, Garnier and Pantene, most recently starred in the fantasy romance Once Upon a Time, which earned $82.3 million in China this summer. Her other credits include 2012’s The Assassins, which earned Liu her first major acting award (at the Macau International Movie Festival), Never Gone and The Four trilogy.
Sounds like that got everything they were looking for and it’s going to be cool to see her bring the character of Mulan to life on the big screen.
Mulan is being directed by Niki Caro (The Zookeeper’s Wife), and the film will be reelased sometime in 2019.