Mulan: Tens Of Thousands Of People Auditioned For The Lead Role

Producer Jason Reed speaks about the "unprecedented" search to find Mulan.


Disney's next big movie is its live-action Mulan, which comes to select theatres alongside a paid-for release on Disney Plus this Friday, September 4. The movie features actress Liu Yifei in the lead role, and it's a role she won amid a massive audition process.

Producer Jason Reed told Deadline that the search to cast Mulan was "unprecedented." Reed estimated that "tens of thousands" of people tried out for the part before Disney choose Yifei for the role.

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Now Playing: Disney's Mulan (2020) - Official Teaser Trailer

"We did this unprecedented global search for an actress to play the role. Tens of thousands, I believe, auditioned around the world. We had scouts going to martial arts schools, dance schools, and performance schools all throughout China," Reed said. "We had casting offices open in all of the major cities that had significant Chinese populations of working artists, and ultimately Yifei was working on a project in China and she wasn’t initially available. We actually flew over to meet with her and we were smitten."

Mulan director Niki Caro didn't need any convincing to cast Yifei. "Niki was like, 'She's the one.' It's that simple, and fortunately, the studio loved her as well and immediately signed on," Reed said.

Also in the interview, Reed spoke about why Disney elected to make the new Mulan an action movie instead of a musical like the 1998 animated film.

"Part of our thinking is that we thought that this material would be a great opportunity to do something new for the Disney label, to take this and convert it from a musical comedy, which the animated film was, which is great," he said. "We still love it, and it's one of my favorite Disney animated movies of all time. That movie still exists, but then to take that material and use it as the foundation on which to do a big epic adventure movie."

Go to Deadline to read the full interview.

If you're looking to watch Mulan on Disney Plus, you need to pay $30 USD for Premier Access. Alternatively, you could wait, as Mulan will eventually be released for all Disney Plus subscribers.

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