Disney has found its next princess.
The live-action remake of "Mulan" has found its titular star: Chinese actress Liu Yifei (also known as Crystal Liu).
The search for the right actress took a year and spanned five continents. Casting directors saw over 1,000 ethnically Chinese candidates for the role, which requires martial arts skills and the ability to speak English.
Liu is a popular actress in China, after training at the Beijing Film Academy and breaking out in television dramas in the mid-2000s. She is fluent in English after living in Queens, New York for part of her youth. Liu appeared in 2008's "Forbidden Kingdom" opposite Jackie Chan and Jet Li, and recently in June's "The Chinese Widow" opposite Emile Hirsch.
In "Mulan," she'll take on the role of a girl who pretends to be a man so she can take her ill father's place when he's conscripted in the Chinese army. Directed by Niki Caro ("Whale Rider"), the movie doesn't have a firm release date, though reports indicate Disney is hoping it'll be ready in 2019.
Fearful that her ailing father will be drafted into the Chinese military, Mulan (Ming-Na Wen) takes his spot -- though, as a girl living under a patriarchal regime, she is technically unqualified to serve. She cleverly impersonates a man and goes off to train with fellow recruits. Accompanied by her dragon, Mushu (Eddie Murphy), she uses her smarts to help ward off a Hun invasion, falling in love with a dashing captain along the way. Read More