Listen to this: The live-action Mulan reboot won’t kick its way into theaters until 2019, but some people are already fired up about the latest casting announcement. Disney announced this week that it found its new Mulan: Chinese actress Liu Yifei, who is also known as Crystal Liu. In China, though, Liu’s acting background has some questioning whether she’s up to the task — which seems a little premature, if you ask us.
You might recognize Liu from projects like The Forbidden Kingdom or Outcast, the latter of which she appeared in alongside Hayden Christensen and Nicholas Cage. She’s a much bigger name in her native China, but some online chatter points out that her movie record isn’t great, with one commenter even calling Liu “the most famous box office poison in China.” That’s a bit of a stretch, according to Forbes.
A few of her movies haven’t fared so well, but she’s also starred in some hits like The Four and Once Upon a Time.
And when Forbes reached out to an unnamed rep for the reboot, the source defended Liu:
Not only that, but Disney is ensuring this movie is diverse and departing from Hollywood’s history of whitewashing — which, of course, should never have been an issue in the first place — by casting a Chinese woman in the title role. Rather than presuming Yifei isn’t up to the role, we should be celebrating this progress.
At the rate Disney’s been going, this version of Mulan — from Jurassic World screenwriters Rick Jaffa and Amanda Silver and Whale Rider director Niki Caro — should hopefully take the whole live-action reboot factory Disney’s been operating for the past few years up several badass notches.
With Liu’s experience in martial arts movies, TV, and music, we’re going to give her the benefit of the doubt. Let’s let her reflection show who she is inside, okay?