Walt Disney Studios has cast Chinese actress Crystal Liu Yifei in the title role of their upcoming live-action version of “Mulan”.
The 30-year-old is already well known in China as an actress, model and singer, and has starred alongside huge names, such as Jackie Chan and Nicolas Cage.
The upcoming film is inspired by the poem “Ballad of Mulan”, in which a young woman pretends to be a man to take her father’s place in the army. The poem also inspired Disney’s 1998 animated musical version.
Disney reportedly searched for a year to find the right Mulan and considered nearly 1000 different actresses for the role.
Yifei has been acting for more than a decade, and won the Golden Lotus Award for Best Actress at the Macau International Movie Festival in 2013.
Several Hollywood studios have faced backlash in recent years for casting white performers to play characters originally intended to be people of colour. Her casting has been hailed as a victory for diversity.
Disney’s live-action Mulan is set for release in 2019.