Disney’s live-action remake of Mulan has the internet talking. Part of this conversation is the various controversies surrounding the film, from the many changes made from the original to Disney’s conversations with the Chinese government to allow a theatrical release in China.
However, fans of Disney and of Mulan are still largely excited by the new film, and its release on streaming service Disney+ had to have created a large number of new subscribers and a large profit for the Disney corporation. Similarly, the choice of the actress to play Mulan has drawn a lot of attention.
In 2016, Disney began their search for the right actress to play Mulan. Because many fans wanted to ensure that the character wouldn’t be whitewashed like other characters of color, Disney announced that they were going to cast a Chinese actress. The skills required to play Mulan were considerable, from fluency in English to martial arts training.
And after seeing nearly 1000 actresses, Disney eventually came to choose Chinese-American star Liu Yifei.
Who is Liu Yifei?
Liu Yifei, who has also gone by Crystal Liu, is a veteran actress who started performing from a very young age. When she was 10 years old, her family moved to New York, though she returned to China just a few years later to attend the prestigious Performance Institute at the Beijing Film Academy.
She acted in various Chinese TV dramas, and her role in the wuxia series Demi-Gods and Semi-Devils led fans to start calling her “Fairy Sister.”
Her first Hollywood role was as Golden Sparrow in Rob Minkoff’s The Forbidden Kingdom (2008). This film was a success, however, Liu continued to mostly act in Chinese films.
She focused more on big-screen performances, however, she returned to television to star in the recent fantasy drama The Love of Hypnosis. Clearly, Liu was ready to take on a role like Mulan.
Liu Yifei in Mulan
Liu’s previous training and experience in martial arts films gave her many important skills for Mulan. As the title character, Liu plays the daughter of an injured veteran.
Her father is called to return to and serve in the army after an invasion from the north, but Mulan disguises herself as a man so that her father will not have to fight in his condition. Since the plot of the film centers around war, it would be important for the cast to be able to perform in convincing and difficult fight scenes.
Mulan is actually based around a historical Chinese story, The Ballad of Mulan. This story dates back to the 6th century, during the time of the Tuoba or Northern Wei dynasty.
Unlike in the Disney film, the historical Mulan was less of an ugly duckling archetype. She was a devoted daughter who was already skilled in fighting and spends 12 years in the army before she returns to her family. In China, there have been many adaptations of the story of Mulan.
Is Liu Yifei single?
Liu has been in the limelight for over a decade, but the giant fame of Disney has only increased the attention on her personal life. For a few years, Liu had been dating actor Song Seung-heon, who she had been cast with in The Third Way of Love. However, the two had busy schedules that made it hard to maintain a relationship, and by 2018 the couple had broken up.
Most likely, Liu is still single. If she is dating somebody, she’s keeping quiet about it. However, interaction on Chinese social network Weibo led fans to speculate on whether Liu and Song had gotten back together. The actor’s agency said that this interaction didn’t mean that the couple was back together, though, so for now, we can only assume that Liu is single.
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