Chinese actress Liu Yifei cast as Disney's Mulan

Disney's 'Mulan' Finds Its Star (Exclusive)

Casting directors searched across five continents and auditioned almost 1,000 actors in a year-long search for a Mulan with "credible martial arts skills, the ability to speak English and the most ineffable requirement of all: star quality", The Hollywood Reporter says.

Chinese actress Liu Yifei, also known as Crystal Liu, is set to star as the title woman warrior in Disney's live-action adaptation of the classic Chinese tale.

The 1994 animated Mulan made US$304.3 million worldwide and received Golden Globe and Oscar nominations. According to The Hollywood Reporter, the casting directors travelled to five continents in search for the flawless candidate who is ethnically Chinese and equipped with martial arts skills, the ability to speak English, and of course, star quality. 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. Emma Stone's "Chinese-Hawaiian" character in Aloha, Tilda Swinton as the Ancient One in Doctor Strange, Scarlett Johansson as Major Motoko Kusanagi (anglicised as Major Mira Killian) in Ghost in the Shell.

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In Liu, Disney found the complete package.

Liu also stood out because Disney were looking for an ethnic Chinese woman in order to defer to cultural accuracy. She's fluent in English and even lived in Queens, New York City, as a kid, according to the Hollywood Reporter. She starred in the Chinese-American 2008 film, The Forbidden Kingdom, alongside Jackie Chan and Jet Li and also featured in 2014's Outcast, which starred Nicholas Cage and Hayden Christensen. You may have heard about 2017's "The Chinese Widow", in which she starred alongside Emile Hirsch. "Mulan" is helmed by Niki Caro and is slated to release in 2019.

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