Disney’s live-action remake of Mulan has found its lead actress. It has been confirmed that Chinese actress Liu Yifei will play the title role in the studio’s upcoming adaptation of the animated favorite.
In the West, Yifei is known for such movies as Jackie Chan’s The Forbidden Kingdom and the Nicolas Cage’s Outcast. As well as being one of China’s most popular stars, she is also fluent in English, having previously lived in New York.
Last year it was reported that Disney was deliberately seeking an all-Asian cast, to avoid the accusations of “white-washing” that have been levelled at a number of high-profile movies lately. This year’s anime adaptation Ghost in the Shell was criticised for casting Scarlett Johansson in the lead role, while actor Ed Skrein quit the upcoming reboot of Hellboy after learning that the role he had taken was Asian in the Hellboy comic books.
Mulan is to be directed by New Zealand filmmaker Niki Caro, who previously helmed The Zookeeper’s Wife. The movie doesn’t currently have a release date, but it is expected in 2019. It will combine the story of the 1998 animated film with the tale of the legendary Hua Mulan, who impersonated a man to fight against a Hun invasion in the 4th Century.
Mulan is just one of several live-action remakes of classic Disney movies currently in development. New versions of The Lion King and Aladdin are expected in 2019, with Dumbo, Pinocchio, and The Jungle Book 2 also in the works.