Liu Yifei to star in Disney's live-action 'Mulan'

By Zhang Rui
0 Comment(s)Print E-mail, November 30, 2017
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A file photo of actress Liu Yifei. [Photo provided to]

Disney's live-action adaptation of "Mulan" has found its star, Chinese actress Liu Yifei, The Hollywood Reporter revealed on Wednesday.

Over the course of a year, “a team of casting directors visited five continents and saw nearly 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," the magazine's website reported.

Liu is one of the country's most popular actresses and can speak fluent English, having lived in New York during her childhood. She has already acted in English in films such as Rob Minkoff's "The Forbidden Kingdom"(2008) and Nick Powell's "Outcast" (2014). Her latest starring role is in Bille August's "The Chinese Widow," which opened Nov. 10 in China.

As was previously reported, Disney has decided to hire "McFarland, USA" director Niki Caro to helm the project and legendary Hong Kong producer Bill Kong will be the executive producer. Kong is the man behind some of China's biggest domestic hits such as "Hero," "House of Flying Daggers," "Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon," "Monster Hunt" and "Journey to the West: Conquering the Demons."

"Mulan" tells the story of Hua Mulan, a legendary woman warrior from the Northern and Southern Dynasties period (420–589) of Chinese history who was originally described in a ballad known as the "Ballad of Mulan." In the legend, Hua Mulan pretends to be male in order to take her aging father's place in the army, as women were not allowed to enlist. She fought for 12 years and received high honors, but refused any reward and instead retired to her hometown.

A file photo of the lead characters from Disney's 1998 animated feature film "Mulan." [Photo /]

There are many film and TV adaptations of the story. One of the most famous was Disney's 1998 animation, which grossed US$304 million worldwide and earned Golden Globe and Academy Award nominations in addition to winning several Annie Awards, including Outstanding Achievement in an Animated Theatrical Feature.

In recent years, Disney has had several profitable successes in China with remakes of its own animated classics. 2015’s live-action "Cinderella" made US$71.57 million in China, while the 2016 remake of "The Jungle Book" grossed US$150 million. The latest remake, "Beauty and the Beast," grossed US$89.2 million since opening in the country in March.

The new "Mulan" is set for release in 2019. The director and studio will be collaborating closely with Chinese cultural consultants and its own China-based team to ensure that details in the film are authentic and accurate.

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