Daily Drip

Chinese Netizens are Loving Liu Yifei’s Audition Video for “Mulan”


Almost as soon as they turned against Liu Yifei for calling herself “Asian” instead of “Chinese,” the Chinese internet is gaga once again over the Mulan star thanks to a recently released audition video.

Director Niki Caro posted a short video of the Chinese actress’s first audition for the title role on Instagram earlier today. In the video, a fresh-faced Liu can be heard in character as Mulan, talking about chasing rabbits on a horse with her mother.

Caro captioned the video with details on the background story of Liu’s audition, such as how Liu completed the audition with no sleep after the flight from Beijing to the US. Liu Yifei, of course, would go on to snag the role as the heroic warrior in Disney’s upcoming live-action adaptation, which also stars Chinese screen legends Gong Li, Donnie Yen, and Jet Li.

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A short clip from Yifei’s first audition scene. Also the first day I met her. She had traveled from Beijing the day before, and had not slept due to the punishing jet lag between China and US time zones. We needed to see her do four scenes, one of which had five pages of dialogue. All in her second language. The audition took 2 hours, and then she went for a physical training session for another 90 mins. She was deeply exhausted, but never asked for a break, was totally focused, committed, and consistently brilliant. I saw the depth of her talent, her physical strength, her artistry and her undeniable spirit. I knew I’d found a partner, a collaborator, and a warrior. We loved her so much we delayed the shoot 6 months to wait for her to become available. Best decision we ever made. 🌸#mulan #disney #yifei_cc #warrior #loyalbravetrue

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The video made its way to Chinese microblogging platform Weibo, where it is currently going viral under the hashtag “Liu Yifei’s Mulan audition video” (#刘亦菲试镜花木兰视频#) at 460 million views. “Her English is really good, as if it’s her native tongue,” commented one user. “I’m looking forward to her interpretation of Hua Mulan.” Another added, “Wow, she looks great even with dark circles and no sleep! No makeup needed.”

A day earlier, Caro released another video on her Instagram featuring other famous Chinese actresses who auditioned for the role. Recognizable faces such as Pacific Rim Uprising star Lan Yingying, singer and actress Leah Dou, and Detective Chinatown actress Yuxian Shang all appear in the video, introducing themselves to the camera.

Accompanying the video, Caro wrote, “I hope everyone who tried out for Mulan knows that their passion is woven into the fabric of our movie, and that that all played a part in helping me understand and appreciate how beloved and important Mulan is to so many.”

Here’s How the “Mulan” Hollywood Premiere Went Down

Although Mulan was scheduled to have its world premiere in Los Angeles on March 9, the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic forced Disney to delay the film’s theatrical release. It was later confirmed that the movie would hit theaters around the world starting July 22, and land in US cinemas on July 24. A China release date has yet to be announced.


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Bryan Grogan
    Bryan is RADII's Culture Editor. He is a Shanghai-based writer and editor with an interest in culture stories with a social bent. He can be found at a music show, usually with pint in hand.