Disney Casts Chinese Actress for Mulan Live Action Squashing White Washing Accusations

Tara Mercene, Staff Reporter

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After large public outcry for an Asian lead for the upcoming Mulan live action film, Disney has announced Chinese actress, Liu Yifei, will play the role of Mulan.

The 1998 animated film “Mulan,” which originates from the poem, “Ballad of Mulan,” focuses on Hua Mulan who impersonates a man in order to fill in her father’s place in the army and ultimately saves China from the Huns. When Disney announced that the film would be a live action, it caused the public to petition and express the need for an Asian lead due to Hollywood’s history of casting white actors in Asian roles as seen by Scarlett Johansson in ¨Ghost in the Shell¨ and Emma Watson in ¨Aloha.¨

Katherine Canter, a senior who was excited upon hearing the announcement, said that she thinks this movie will have a “positive effect on Hollywood and show how white people don’t have to be in a movie for people to connect with characters. People of color have had to connect with white characters for so long and it’s finally time they actually have representation.” She has high hopes for the movie and is only worried that the director will diminish Mulan’s strong character with “stereotypical girly fight moves.”

According to Hollywood Reporter, Yifei, nicknamed “Fairy Sister” by the Chinese public for her innocent and pure image, was chosen out of 1,000 candidates and met all the requirements for the role. She has “credible martial arts skills” and is fluent in English due to some of her childhood being spent in New York. In America, she has found success in starring in three English movies: “The Forbidden Kingdom,” “Outcast,” and “The Chinese Widow,” while also being one of China’s “most popular actresses of the current generation.”

Li Dong, a senior and a member of the Asian Students Organization, has expressed her relief in Disney’s casting, believing that Yifei was a good choice and that it’s “only right and natural for a Chinese actress to be casted as Mulan since Mulan is Chinese as well.” She also believes some people may “feel uncomfortable to see an all Asian cast in a movie produced by Hollywood, which typically produces movies with mostly white characters. Perhaps they will feel as if it the film isn’t American anymore if it doesn’t star actors that look like a standard white American.”

As Disney continues to cast the rest of the roles for the film, the public anxiously awaits and hopes to keep Hollywood’s whitewashing out of any casting decisions.  

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