Chinese actress Liu Yifei cast as Disney's Mulan

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Disney has been praised for casting a Chinese actor in the title role of its upcoming live-action version of Mulan. The actress, who has been nicknamed "Fairy Sister" by the Chinese, spent part of her childhood in NY and has acted in English-language films, including 2008's The Forbidden Kingdom, opposite Jackie Chan and Jet Li.

"Mulan" is the story of a powerful young Chinese woman who fought against the Huns in place of her father. According to The Hollywood Reporter, the casting directors travelled to five continents in search for the flawless candidate who is ethnically Chinese and equipped with martial arts skills, the ability to speak English, and of course, star quality.

Niki Caro, who most newly helmed The Zookeeper's Wife, is directing Disney's live-action Mulan, which is being molded by Chris Bender, Jason Reed, and Jake Weiner and eyeing a 2019 release. The 1998 film was so well-received by critics and the public, earning USD304 million (RM1.24 billion) worldwide as well as Golden Globe and Academy Award nominations.

It is highly possible that the live-action Mulan will be a musical as well, similar to the live-action adaptation of Beauty and the Beast, so it is expected that Liu would need to carry a tune. As BBC News notes, recent films accused of whitewashing include the Hollywood remake of Japanese anime Ghost in the Shell, which starred Scarlett Johansson, and Chinese epic The Great Wall which had Matt Damon as its lead. Besides being fluent in English having spent some years living in NY, the 30-year-old is also one of the most successful actresses of this generation. She has appeared in films like The Forbidden Kingdom with Jackie Chan and Outcast with Nicolas Cage. She also starred differing Emile Hirsch in Danish auteur Bille August's period passion The Chinese Widow, which solved the Shanghai International Film Festival in June.