On the left, from VCG / Getty Images; Right, from Buena Vista Pictures / Everett Collection.
Disney finally found a protagonist to play the title role in Mulan. Hearings of the United States, prepare to meet the actress Liu Yifei (also known as Crystal Liu), the Chinese star in charge of taking the role to live action. Liu was chosen after a year of speculation about who would star in the new adaptation, and Disney reportedly ranked among nearly 1,000 candidates before choosing it, according to The Hollywood Reporter .
Liu, 30, has previously starred in a series of television shows and films, including Chinese-American projects such as the fantasy-action 2008 The Forbidden Kingdom that also starred Jackie Chan and Jet Li -and the 2014 film Outcast, featuring Nicolas Cage and Hayden Christensen. That action experience will serve you well for the role of Mulan, a tomboy who avoids her domestic life to become a legendary warrior.
Per T.H.R., Liu is also already a profitable star in China. He recently spearheaded the fantasy romance Once Upon a Time, which won $ 82.3 million, and currently serves as ambbadador for the brand of Dior, Tissot, Garnier and Pantene. It is a well-known entity to its credit, someone with experience in both English films and Chinese productions: a double blow that should help it attract the American audiences that grew up in Disney's animated version of Mulan ] and the Chinese audiences that want to see their history well represented.
This selection decision marks several important pictures for Disney. On the one hand, now that they can put a face on Mulan, the fans will no longer focus on false rumors about the studio that potentially bleach the story. In addition, choosing a Chinese star helps the studio address the Chinese audiences directly, the important demographic that can reinforce or destroy the box office's global box office hopes. It is no secret that Hollywood has spent the last few years openly courting fans of Chinese theater; see, for example, Lucasfilm playing stars like Donnie Yen and Jiang Wen to star in Rogue One. Given its theme, Mulan could be the ultimate culmination of those box office dreams. Of course, the film also seems to be a success, whatever happens, considering the good performances of Disney live action restarts in the past; Beauty and the Beast, for example, crossed the $ 1 billion mark and is the highest grossing film of 2017. Still, it does not hurt to have a star that guarantees that the titular role of the film is based on cultural precision.
Liu's casting is also fascinating for another reason: the actress is much older than Mulan in the original animated film and in Chinese legend. Aging Mulan a few years ago will allow the studio to make a slightly more mature film, which seems to be in line with the character's adventurous story, and could also mean an opportunity for age-appropriate romance, though not with the male protagonist White. worried fans. Disney was determined to launch. Niki Caro, the filmmaker who directed dramas such as North Country and Whale Rider, will direct the film.
Get the Vanity Fair HWD newsletter  Register in the essential industry and win Hollywood news.
Donald Glover, Simba
It's going to be a powerful king, so enemies must be careful.
Photo: on the left, by Monica Schipper / WireImage; Right, from Buena Vista Pictures / Everett Collection.
This new version better gives Nala some songs.
Photo: left, by Kevin Mazur / Getty Images; Right, from Walt Disney Pictures / Photofest.
James Earl Jones, Mufasa
Prepare your paper handkerchiefs now, folks.
Photo: On the left, by Walter McBride / WireImage; Right, from Walt Disney Pictures / Photofest.
Chiwetel Ejiofor, Scar
Photo: Left, by Mike Marsland / WireImage; Right, from Buena Vista Pictures / Everett Collection.
John Oliver, Zazu
"This child is going crazy!"
Photo: Left, by Ray Tamarra / GC Images; Right, from Buena Vista Pictures / Everett Collection.
Florence Kasumba, Shenzi
Florence will replace Whoopi Goldberg, but we believe that this hyena still likes "cubs" sandwiches.
Photo: Left, by Target Presse Agentur Gmbh / Getty Images; Right, from Buena Vista Pictures / Everett Collection.
Eric Andre, Keegan-Michael Key, Azizi and Kamari
It seems that Banzai and Ed have achieved a bit of a makeover. We are not sure how similar these new hyenas will be to the old ones, but we are guessing that, as with the original, they will follow Shenzi's example.
Photo: from the left, from Walt Disney Pictures / Photofest, by Paul Archuleta / FilmMagic, by Vera Anderson / WireImage, by Walt Disney Pictures / Photofest.