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Disney announces Chinese actor for Mulan lead

Liu Yifei will play the kickass heroine

Disney has announced that Liu Yifei will play the titular role in the upcoming live-action reboot of Mulan.

Liu studied in the US and is fluent in English, but is most famous in her home country for films such as The Forbidden Kingdom, with Jackie Chan, and A Chinese Ghost Story. She's also appeared in the odd Hollywood dud, such as Outcast, with Nicholas Cage.

liu yifei
Liu Yifei with Nicholas Cage in Outcast.

Liu, also known as Crystal Liu, is not the most spectacular of Chinese actors, but she is certainly Chinese, which comes as a relief to the Mulan aficionados who were worried that Disney might have done that Hollywood thing of casting a white actor to play an Asian role. Previous controversies have included Emma Stone being cast as Allison Ng in Aloha, and Tilda Swinton playing the Tibetan Ancient One in Doctor Strange; more than 100,000 people signed a petition calling for Disney not to fall into the same whitewashing pitfall.

It's not all good news – we heard earlier this year that the remake is planned to be song-free, although it's not going to be released until 2019, so there's hope that the filmmakers will see the light yet.

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