Yoson An will play Mulan's love interest in Disney's live-action take on the Chinese legend. The Mouse House previously adapted Mulan as an animated film back in 1998, with Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.'s Ming-Na Wen voicing the titular character. Liu Yifei will play the role in the live-action version, which re-tells the story of how young Mulan, fearing for her ailing father's life, disguises herself as a man and takes her father's place in China's army. Niki Caro, who previously joined forces with Disney on the true story-based sports drama McFarland, USA, is calling the shots this time around.
With Caro aiming to begin production in New Zealand and China this year, there have been several casting updates for Mulan over the past month. Among those now set to appear in the film are Rogue One's Donnie Yen as Commander Tung, Mulan's mentor in the military; Gong Li as the movie's villain, a powerful witch; and Jet Li as China's seasoned Emperor. Other cast members include Utkarsh Ambudkar and Ron Yuan in supporting roles as, respectively, a con man named Skath and the Imperial Regiment's second in command, Sergeant Qiang.
THR is further reporting that An will play Chen Honghui, a "confident and ambitious" member of Commander Tung's unit who becomes Mulan's ally before evolving into her love interest. The animated Mulan, as its fans are no doubt aware, features a different love interest for the movie's namesake; specifically Li Shang, the army captain whose speaking voice was provided by BD Wong (with Donnie Osmond performing Shang's very catchy song in the film, "I'll Make a Man Out of You"). By the sound of it though, Chen's role in the live-action Mulan will be largely identical to Shang's in the Mouse House's 2D animated movie.
An is a lesser-known actor who played a recurring role on the horror TV show Grace and had a (very) small role in the martial arts sequel Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon: Sword of Destiny. He will play another minor role in this summer's giant shark thriller The Meg, but has a comparatively more substantial role in the Mortal Engines movie arriving this December (where he plays Major Chen). THR is also reporting that Chum Ehelepola will costar in Mulan as Ramtish, a character who makes up a duo with Skath in the film.
Some fans of the animated Mulan will naturally be disappointed to learn that Shang isn't a part of the live-action retelling, but it sounds like Chen should be a perfectly acceptable replacement for the character. Others might just be happy to learn that Mulan will have a love interest at all, seeing as it was rumored that Caro's version would be dropping that aspect of the story. Caro has also confirmed that the live-action Mulan will include music, so Chen may yet get to sing a little, as Shang did before him.
- Mulan (2020) release date: Mar 27, 2020