Everything About Liu Yifei, The Actress Who’s Starring as Mulan in the Mulan Live-Action Movie

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There’s going to be a Mulan movie, and I bet some of you are saying, “What? I thought got many Mulan movies liao?”

Wrong.

Mulan started out as an animated film in 1998 based on the Chinese legend of Hua Mulan, and became a hit almost immediately.

Soon after, its sequel was released in 2004, but it’s not in theatres but as a DVD instead (if you don’t know what a DVD is, go ask your parents).

In other words, this would be the first English live-action Mulan film, which is essentially a remake of the first aminated film.

Set to be released on 27 March 2020, the trailer was just released yesterday during the 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup Final (so apt)…

…and suddenly, everyone’s asking: who’s that chick playing as Mulan?

Mulan isn’t whitewashed, like Scarlett Johansson in Ghost in the Shell?

Liu Yifei

I’m pretty sure you’ve not heard of that name before.

Do you have a friend who’s always smiling? Watch this video and you’ll know why he or she is always so happy:

We know Chinese actors like Angelababy, Zhang Ziyi or Jack Ma (oh, this one not actor ah?), but Liu Yifei?

The 31-year-old Chinese actress has suddenly become the top searched names today after the trailer was out, and I don’t blame the Internet: who is she to have taken on the role of Mulan, our beloved character?

Apparently, she’s a very popular actress over in China. Here in Singapore, we have the Seven Princesses of Mediacorp which comprises Jesseca Liu, Jeanette Aw, Rui En, Fiona Xie, Joanne Peh, Felicia Chin and Dawn Yeoh, though some of them have left the industry.

And in China, Liu Yifei is one of the Four Dan Actresses (kind of like the Seven Princesses of Mediacorp). Different publications have different actresses, and a 2009 version by Tencent QQ puts her in one of the lists.

You’d have also noticed that she can speak fluent English; that’s because she lived in the US when she was ten to fifteen years old. When she was fifteen, she returned to China to pursue an acting career and was accepted into the Performance Institute of Beijing Film Academy.

When she was still in the school, she was already taking on roles in national TV. At a tender age of nineteen, she starred in the China version of The Return of the Condor Heroes and since then, had become a household name in China.

The prolific actress doesn’t just act: she has two albums under her belt and has sung the theme songs for some movies and even a video game.

Suffice to say, she definitely has the acting chops and the star power, but why her?

Beat 1,000 Actresses to Play Mulan

Apparently, the casting directors took a year to find the perfect person to play Mulan. They saw through nearly 1,000 candidates, in which one must be Chinese, young, have credible martial arts skills, can speak English and has star power as well.

Remember that Liu has acted in The Return of the Condor Heroes? That’s an action-packed movie filled with so many martial arts moves that it brought Fann Wong and Christopher Lee together, so Liu has the experience that other Chinese actresses might not have.

Of course, if this were in 1990, Michelle Yeoh would have taken the role hands-down.

Back then, when Liu was announced to be Mulan, reactions were pretty divided. But after the trailer was out, everyone suddenly thinks that she’s the perfect fit.

Would she become the next Michelle Yeoh?

Well, we’ll only know in March next year.