Sony recently announced that they’ll be shooting a live-action reboot of Disney’s Mulan, which is based on a Chinese legendary figure known for her act of filial piety. Despite Sony’s assurance that the movie will be shot in China with a “mostly Chinese cast” and a worldwide search for the perfect actress to play Mulan, fans still insisted on signing a petition to ensure Mulan is played by a Chinese actress.
Making an English-language movie shouldn’t be an excuse to hire non-Asian actors/actresses. Following the Ghost in the Shell controversy, we can all admit that white-washing needs to stop – and that Rinko Kikuchi would’ve made a better lead actress than ScarJo.
Here are our picks of actresses that could pull off a perfect Mulan:
#1 Vicki Zhao
The top actress in our list is definitely Vicki Zhao because she has had experience playing Mulan in Mulan: Rise of a Warrior, directed by Hong Kong director Jingle Ma.
#2 Ellen Wong
This Canadian-born actress of a Cambodian descent is most famous for playing the dorky and yet badass Knives Chau in Scott Pilgrim vs. the World. She began acting in community theatre whilst attending college and at the age of 14, she started working in a variety of TV production jobs.
As if it’s not proof enough that she could pull off a great Mulan.
#3 Jamie Chung
This Californian Korean is famous for starring in kickass action films such as Sucker Punch and Sin City: A Dame to Kill For. But anyone who has watched Chung play Mulan in ABC’s Once Upon a Time would tell you she’s the perfect actress for the live-action movie.
#4 Fan Bingbing
Currently a rising star in the Chinese film industry, Fan Bingbing wowed critics and audiences with her performance in the historical Chinese TV series The Empress of China as the young Empress Wu. She has starred in a few Hollywood productions such as X-Men: Days of Future Past, cementing her status as one of the highest-paid actresses in the world.
#5 Crystal Liu
Ever since her role as Xiao Longnu in the 2006 version of The Return of the Condor Heroes, Crystal is given the nickname ‘fairy’ by fans due to her beauty, which has an ethereal quality to it. Besides Mandarin and English, Crystal is also able to converse in French, having acted in the French-speaking movie Le Paon de Nuit. She has also acted alongside Jet Li, Jackie Chan, Michael Angarano and Li Bingbing in The Forbidden Kingdom!
#6 Li Bingbing
Known as an ‘action actress’ in the Chinese film industry, Li Bingbing can definitely nail the role as Mulan. She has also starred in a few famous Hollywood productions like Transformers: Age of Extinction and even Resident Evil: Retribution, making her one of the more popular Chinese actresses in the West.
#7 Tang Wei
You might remember her from Lust, Caution which won her the Best New Actress Award at the Venice Film Festival. She’s a fast learner, being able to master different Chinese dialects quickly for upcoming roles. Tang Wei has also briefly attended drama classes at the University of Reading.
#8 Angelica Lee
Why not a Malaysian actress for the role of Mulan? The ethnic Chinese actress is more known for her roles in horror movies, but hey, oppression of women is a horror too! She also won the Best Newcomer award at the Berlin Film Festival.
#9 Constance Wu
While rumours about a live-action Mulan movie started spreading, Wu was rocketing to stardom in her role as Jessica Huang on Fresh of the Boat. The world exploded and everyone wanted her to play the badass character – even Buzzfeed picked her as their ‘dream’ Mulan. And she also speaks fluent English since she was born and raised in the US itself! Perfect!
#10 Celina Jade
This Hong Kong-born half-Chinese actress is most famous for her role as Shado/Mei in The CW’s Arrow. But what not many people know is that she’s also a singer. Admit it, you’re now excited to hear her rendition of “Reflection“. Her father is also American kung fu star Roy Horan, so at least we know ‘kung fu’ runs in her veins!
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Words by Esther Chung and Shareen Ho.
As if white-washing isn’t enough of a thing in Hollywood, women also face constant sexism. Click here for the actresses considered either ‘too hot’ or ‘not hot enough’. Hmph.