The Hollywood Reporter just put out a run-down of Next Gen Talent 2019, looking at “Hollywood’s rising young stars.” In amongst the likes of Little Mermaid-to-be Halle Bailey, Shang-Chi‘s Simu Liu, and Euphoria star Hunter Schafer is Chinese actress Liu Yifei, the lead in Disney’s live-action remake of Mulan.
Liu’s inclusion has given the list plenty of attention back in her home country too, with tens of thousands liking a prominent post about the article on microblogging site Weibo and thousands adding comments.
Demonstrating some Disney-fied media training, Liu selects Frozen soundtrack “Let It Go” as her go-to KTV (karaoke) song, and perhaps unsurprisingly says that WeChat is the app she checks in the morning. THR also ask her for a person she’d most like to work with plus the person she’s been most star-struck by, with Darren Aronofsky and Natalie Portman being her answers respectively.
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Mulan will be Liu’s first major Hollywood role, and her presence in the Disney film is controversial both at home and abroad. Liu was one of a number of prominent celebrities to post a meme in support of the Hong Kong police this summer, sparking calls for a boycott of the movie in the US. Disney and Liu subsequently stayed quiet on the matter, but the issue could well resurface as Mulan gears up for release in March 2020.
In China meanwhile, Liu has faced criticism over both her acting ability and looks. Yet as much as the haters have weighed in on her making the THR list, it’s also being seen as a source of pride by many on the Chinese internet.
“Asian faces are going out to the world,” declares one highly-upvoted comment on Weibo, while others praise her for being at the forefront of Chinese representation in Hollywood. Her appearance on the list has become one of the hottest trending hashtags on the microblogging platform in the past few hours, picking up more than 300 million views.
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