After more than a year of speculation, Disney have finally found their leading lady.
Exclusively revealed by the Hollywood Reporter, Chinese actress Liu Yifei, also known as Crystal Liu, will be taking on the role of the iconic warrior in the live-action adaptation of Mulan, currently set for release in 2019.
According to the Hollywood Reporter, Disney visited five continents and auditioned more than 1000 candidates in search of the perfect choice.
Liu, 30, has previously starred in a number of TV shows and films, with the most recent of these being Chinese romantic fantasy film Once Upon a Time. She is currently serving as a brand ambassador for Dior, Garnier and Pantene.
Widely known to Chinese audiences as “Fairy Sister” due to her sweet image, Liu has been one of the country’s most popular actresses since her breakout role in the mid-2000s. She was still just a teenager when she took on her first role, in the television series The Story of a Noble Family.
Liu signed with Sony Entertainment Japan in 2005, and went on to release two albums. Whilst the fate of the songs in the live-action remake is currently unknown it does seem likely that she may be able to put her singing to good use.
Ming-Na Wen, who voiced Mulan in the animated classic has given the casting her seal of approval, tweeting:
— Ming-Na Wen (@MingNa) November 30, 2017
The casting of Mulan had been the subject of much discussion, with a petition to avoid whitewashing of the role reaching more than 100,000 signatures.
To date, no other casting announcements have been confirmed, but we cannot wait to find out more.
Niki Caro, whose most recent credits include The Zookeeper’s Wife, is set to direct, with the screenplay by Lauren Hynek and Rick Jaffa. The 1998 animated release, starring Ming-Na Wen, Eddie Murphy and BD Wong, brought in over $300 million worldwide, as well as a number of award nominations.
And given the strong response to live-action reboots in recent years, it seems likely that Mulan will prove to be a massive success.