Entertainment Mulan Star Yifei Liu Talks Scoring the Role of a Lifetime: ‘This Is Really a Dream Moment’

18:42  04 september  2020
18:42  04 september  2020 Source:   people.com

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EW sits down with Yifei Liu ahead of her star -making turn in Disney's ' Mulan '. In person, the actress demurs at the parallels, insisting she took more from the role than she gave. She describes a scene in her film where Mulan bathes in a lake: “It was really important that the actress we chose was open

USA TODAY's Bryan Alexander chatted with " Mulan " star Yifei Liu about how she brought the iconic character to life .

Liu Yifei posing for a picture: WireImage © Provided by People WireImage

After acting in China since age 15, Yifei Liu makes her American film debut Friday in Disney's live-action Mulan.

"We're all waiting for this," Liu, 33, tells PEOPLE in this week's issue of the movie, which was supposed to open in March but got postponed because of the coronavirus outbreak.

Liu auditioned for the movie after a two-day trip from Beijing to Los Angeles. "All eyes were on me for maybe three, four hours," she recalls. "Although I felt good, I didn't know whether they were going to hire me or not."

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The film stars Liu Yifei in the title role , alongside Donnie Yen, Jason Scott Lee, Yoson An, Gong Li, and Jet Li in supporting roles . It is an epic journey that will transform her into an honored warrior and earn her the respect of a grateful nation…and a proud father.

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For more on Yifei Liu, pick up the latest issue of PEOPLE, on newsstands now, or subscribe here.

The actress knew it might take some time to hear back about whether she landed the role, but within two days, "I got the offer," Liu says.

As a "big fan" of the 1998 animated Mulan, Liu realized she'd be taking on a beloved story. "You have to put in all your emotion to be able to respect that character," she says. "I see the passion people have for the story. I really hope that we could bring back some of their memories and love. I hope they love it."

a painting of Liu Yifei: The new live-action Mulan is out now on Disney+ © Provided by People The new live-action Mulan is out now on Disney+

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Liu trained for two months to play the warrior princess.

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Disney wins praise for casting actor also known as Crystal Liu to play warrior woman in live-action remake.

Can Niki Caro and Yifei Liu 's film become a rare Disney remake to score a fresh Rotten Tomatoes score ? All of this is a long-winded way of saying that the pressure is on Mulan . The upcoming blockbuster, directed by Niki Caro and starring Yifei Liu , is less a direct remake of the 1998 animated

"One day I just felt like I couldn't get up," the Disney star says. "Your body's like, 'Give me a break! Just one day.' I went to the beach, took a walk and then quickly got back on track."

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The new Mulan lacks original love interest Shang (and dragon Mushu), but Liu teases that movie actually gives its lead two romantic connections.

"We still have that, but we just divided that to two different characters," Liu says. "We have a younger soldier — they have their story. Also, we have a commander that's kind of her mentor."

a person wearing a costume: Jasin Boland/Disney Liu as Mulan. © Provided by People Jasin Boland/Disney Liu as Mulan.

Now that Liu's played a Disney princess, she looks forward to expanding her Hollywood career.

“I want people to see me on a wider stage,” says Liu, who spent her downtime the last few months reading and doing yoga and Pilates. “This is really a dream moment.”

Mulan is available now on Disney+.

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