China had strongly objected to Hollywood taking Western actors to portray roles of Asians in their movies. An example was of Matt Damon who was cast in the lead role for “The Great Wall” last year, which was a movie set in ancient China. That had annoyed the Chinese moviegoers, and thousands of them had signed a petition demanding that they wanted to see an Asian actress in the role of Hua Mulan in the forthcoming blockbuster.

New Zealand Herald reports that Disney has set at rest the controversy by selecting a Chinese actress to play the role of the legendary female warrior of China.

The actress chosen is 30-year old Liu Yifei, also known as Fairy Sister in the entertainment industry, because of her sweet and delicate image. Obviously, her countrymen are happy.

About the actress

Disney had to screen-test hundreds of candidates who could fit the role of Hua Mulan. It was an exacting exercise because they needed an actress who could speak the desired style of English and also possess skills in martial arts. Liu Yifei was an obvious choice. She is fluent in English and had lived in New York when young. Her acting career began in television, and she appeared in 2008 in the movie “Forbidden Kingdom” where she starred with Jackie Chan.

In the opinion of Tan Fei, a Chinese film commentator, the acceptance of a Chinese in a Hollywood blockbuster is an indication that the West has changed its perception, and is looking at Chinese actors in a positive way.

Till now, Chinese actors portrayed non-essential characters and as sidekicks in Western movies roles, but Liu has proved that the times are changing.

Niki Caro will direct the film, and its release is tentatively fixed for 2019.

'Whitewashing' in Hollywood

The news of Liu Yifei appearing in the lead role of Hua Mulan, the legendary female warrior of China, has delighted her fans.

The movie is an adaptation of the 1998 cartoon character by Disney and is expected to be a blockbuster.

The ongoing row over "whitewashing" in Hollywood should now take a back seat. In recent years, there have been accusations that the moviemakers prefer non-Asian actors in roles that depict Asians. One reason in their favor could be the risk factor while trying out new faces.

Producers invest millions in a movie, and they want to get their money back. Hence, they depend on tried and tested names. However, the time has come for them to look beyond their immediate boundaries and encourage newcomers.