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Published On: Sat, Dec 30th, 2017

Disney’s live-action ‘Mulan’ will star Crystal Liu, aka Liu Yifei

Disney has announced that they’ve found their lead for Niki Caro’s upcoming live-action adaptation of Mulan.

The Hollywood Reporter reports that Chinese actress Liu Yifei, also known as Crystal Liu, has been cast as the titular heroine in Walt Disney Pictures’ upcoming live-action adaptation of their 1998 animated classic film.

“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. In deference to cultural accuracy, the studio focused on locating an ethnically Chinese young woman to play Hua Mulan, who disguised herself as a man to take her father’s army conscription in 5th century China.”

Liu has been nicknamed “Fairy Sister” by the Chinese public for her pure and innocent looks and image, growing to become one of the country’s most popular actresses of the current generation. Liu 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.

Niki Caro, who most recently helmed The Zookeeper’s Wife, is directing Disney’s live-action Mulan, which is being produced by Chris Bender, Jason Reed and Jake Weiner.

The 1998 animated version, voice-starring Ming-Na Wen (Agents of SHIELD) alongside Eddie Murphy and B.D. Wong, earning $304.3 million worldwide as well as Golden Globe and Academy Award nominations.

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