JOIN ME AS I FALL TO MY KNEES AND RAISE MY VOICE TO THE HEAVENS IN A SHRIEK OF PRIMAL JOY: finally (finally), Hollywood has done something right. Not just right, but arguably perfect.
Disney has cast Chinese actress Liu Yifei as Hua Mulan in their upcoming live-action version of the classic Chinese epic / beloved animated movie. Their hugely-anticipated choice was made after year-long search for a star, in which over 1,000 actresses from across 5 continents were considered–they even held a worldwide open casting call. Per The Hollywood Reporter, they had several non-negotiable requirements for the role: they wanted someone ethnically Chinese, fluent in English and Mandarin, with legit martial arts skills–and obviously, the requisite acting talent/charisma/intangible #yaaaskween factor.
Guess who ticks all those boxes and then some? Liu freaking Yifei.
The actress (who sometimes uses the name Crystal Liu) is already a huge star in China and Taiwan, dubbed the “Fairy Sister” by the media for her ethereal beauty as the star of high-fantasy historical dramas like Return of the Condor Heroes, Chinese Paladin, and Once Upon A Time. But homegirl can rock a hanfu and a sword–she’s also had roles in U.S. productions like The Forbidden Kingdom, where she played a badass bent on vengeance against the warlord who killed her family, alongside martial arts icons Jackie Chan and Jet Li. Before returning to China to pursue her acting career at the Beijing Academy of the Arts, Liu had actually moved to Queens, New York with her family, where she spent her middle school years. More recently in America, she’s starred in Outcast with Nicholas Cage & Hayden Christiansen; this past summer, she acted opposite Emile Hirsche in the indie romantic drama The Chinese Widow.
Basically, her resume is on point. She’s so great. I literally couldn’t imagine a more perfect Mulan than Liu Yifei. There is speculation over whether or not the movie will be a musical like the original Disney adaptation–it seems like they might be going more for the #darkandedgy route than the ever-just-the-same live-action Beauty and the Beast–but I hope for the sake of box-office they include some songs. Hopefully Liu can sing, too? I wouldn’t be surprised, tbh.
Now we just have to hold out hope for the rest of the cast. Who do you guys see playing her love interest? Dragon buddy Mushu? (Will we still have Mushu, or will he be cut out for the sake of #edge? PLEASE SAY THERE’S STILL MUSHU).
I’m SO HYPED right now, y’all, and you should be too. To get more familiar with our new Mulan, you can watch Liu Yifei in the Chinese romantic drama So Young 2: Never Gone opposite Kris Wu, streaming for free right here on AsianCrush.