It was recently announced that one of our favorite Disney badasses, Fa Mulan, will get her own live-action film nearly eighteen years after the original Disney animated movie was released. The film is currently in pre-production.
There has unfortunately been quite a bit of drama these past few weeks centered around a rumor that the Mulan live-action film slated for 2018 will be yet another cinematic victim of whitewashing, and our heroine will have a white European love interest. Thankfully, it seems as though that rumor has been debunked and the much anticipated live-action reboot will have a primarily Chinese cast.
With no news on the casting yet and tons of speculation on who will play Mulan, fans are also wondering who will play the tough yet vulnerable (and handsome!) military captain Li Shang.
We put together a list of talented and underrated Chinese and Taiwanese actors who could tackle the Li Shang role and do him justice.
Check out these 15 Actors Who Could Play Li Shang in the Mulan live-action movie.
15. Godfrey Gao
Taiwanese-born Canadian actor and model Godfrey Gao found fame in various Taiwanese TV dramas including Magicians of Love and Momo Love. He branched out into films with his debut in The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones as Magnus Bane in 2013 and also did a Mandarin voice-over for Toy Story 3‘s Taiwan release. As a model, Gao is the first Asian male model to be featured in a campaign fashion label Louis Vuitton.
Not only does Godfrey Gao have the strong chin and strong body to play Li Shang, he also has the acting ability to play Li Shang really well. Many other fans agree, too. Even though Gao may not have a huge resume of films under his belt quite yet, taking on the role of Li Shang in Mulan could very well launch him into mainstream fame and he can finally get some global recognition for acting. Who wouldn’t want more Gao in their life?
14. Yoshi Sudarso
Yoshua “Yoshi” Sudarso is a Chinese-Indonesian American actor, model, and stuntman known for his work in The Maze Runner and Power Rangers Dino Charge. He has also been in several television series including Pretty Dudes and NCIS: Los Angeles. Sudarso’s brother, Peter Adrian Sudarso, is a famous model and actor known for his YouTube videos about fashion and cosplay, some of which Yoshi has been featured in. Sudarso developed a love of martial arts from watching the Power Rangers as a kid (he’s lived the dream now!) as well as Jackie Chan movies.
Like Godfrey Gao, Sudarso does not have a ton of well-known commercial work under his belt, and taking on the role of Li Shang could guarantee that we’ll see more of him. His stuntman background could be a huge advantage for an action-packed role in Mulan too. Sudarso caught wind of his fans comparing him to Li Shang and expressed interest in the role as well.
13. Chen Xiao
Chen Xiao is a graduate of the Central Academy of Drama and first made his acting debut in Tsui Hark’s Detective Dee and the Mystery of the Phantom Flame in 2010. He’s been in a lot of smaller supporting roles in Chinese television series since then, including The Bounty Hunter and The Qin Emperor II. He found critical acclaim after taking on the role of Lin Pingzhi in the television series Swordsman.
Chen Xiao has mainly been a Chinese TV star and has been in only a few Chinese films. Perhaps the role of Li Shang in Mulan could be an interesting change for the Chinese actor. His handsome face and acting talent would make him the perfect Li Shang. Chen Xiao’s role in the Chinese period drama The Legend of Lu Zhen also shows how well he wears traditional historical Chinese garb. He’d make a great Li Shang, indeed.
12. Remy Hii
Hii was born to English and Chinese-Malaysian parents in Queensland. Hii’s only been acting for a fairly short amount of time and has already branched out into roles outside of Australia. He’s already been nominated for various awards, including the AACTA Award for Best Lead Actor in a Television Drama (for Better Man) and the Logie Award for Most Outstanding Newcomer.
Hii truly is an outstanding newcomer; his role in Marco Polo proved that his acting ability, especially in period dramas, is on point. Hii could play Li Shang really well. And just like many other men on this list that have caught wind of their fans comparing them to Li Shang, Remy Hii is ready to take it on.
11. Kenny Leu
Kenny Leu is a Taiwanese born actor who grew up in the Bay Area. He came from a modest immigrant household and spent much of his life focused on the American dream by doing what he loves as a career and starting a family. He lived part of his dream as a professional consultant for a Silicon Valley startup before deciding that he could do more by pursuing an acting career. We’re glad he did– Kenny Leu has represented Asian-Americans in television and film in a positive, cool way with roles in NCIS, Scream, and Independence Day: Resurgence.
Kenny Leu isn’t just a great actor, but a kind and human-empowered person. We’d love to see him find even more mainstream success and portraying Li Shang in Mulan could definitely do that. I mean, look at that resemblance! Those dark eyes, strong jaw, buff body, and high cheekbones? He would rock the role of Li Shang physically and his acting talents could only make the role even better.
10. Ludi Lin
Ludi Lin is another actor who has been featured in the Netflix series Marco Polo. Lin is an up and coming Beijing-based Chinese-Canadian actor who is slated to play Zack, the Black Ranger, in the new Power Rangers reboot.
Lin was born in Fuzhou, China and spent much of his youth in boarding schools in Australia. Lin traveled to Canada in his last year of high school and studied Theatre Performance at the University of British Columbia as well as Film and TV Acting in Los Angeles. Lin has a fairly short filmography, starring mostly in short films and television movies. He is most notable for his single episode role in Marco Polo and for playing the Wind Monster Hunter in the Hong Kong 3D fantasy adventure film Monster Hunt in 2015.
Lin is good-looking and a talented actor despite having so few works to back him up. He has both the look and acting ability to play Li Shang in Mulan well, and it would be great to see more of Lin in the future. Hopefully working on the Power Rangers reboot won’t prevent that from happening entirely.
9. Harry Shum Jr.
Harry Shum Jr. is a Costa Rican-American actor, dancer, and choreographer. He is most recognizable as Mike Chang from the Fox comedy-drama Glee and as the High Warlock Magnus Bane in the fantasy television series Shadowhunters (a role also played by #15, Godfrey Gao). He’s been in a ton of films, especially musicals and dance dramas, including Stomp the Yard, You Got Serves, Step Up 2, The Legion of Extraordinary Dancers, and Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon: Sword of Destiny.
Shum was born to Hong Kong-Chinese parents in Costa Rica and moved to San Fransisco as a child. He was inspired by the dancing talents of Ginuwine, Michael Jackson, Gene Kelly, and Usher and decided to pursue a dance and acting career in 2002. He’s been a lead dancer for Beyonce, Jennifer Lopez, and Mariah Carey, and has been featured in iPod commercials as well.
8. Booboo Stewart
Nils Allen “Booboo” Stewart, Jr. is an American actor, model, dancer, and singer. He is recognizable as the werewolf Seth Clearwater in The Twilight Saga, War Path in X-Men: Days of Future Path, and Jay in Descendants. Stewart was born in Beverly Hills and has Chinese, Japanese, Korean, Russian, and Blackfoot ancestry. He also has a band called Echoes of Angels and has toured with them in the past.
For most of his acting career, Stewart has been in mostly TV films and independent work. His cinematic debut was in the films Logan and The Twilight Saga: Eclipse in 2010. Since then, Stewart has taken on several roles in various films and focuses on philanthropic activities for PETA, Childhelp, and the Muscular Dystrophy Association.
7. Joe Cheng
Joe Cheng is a Taiwanese model, actor, and singer. He started out his professional career as a model for Taiwanese modeling agencies but is most well-known as Jiang Zhishu from the popular Taiwanese drama It Started With A Kiss. Cheng is very popular as an actor in Taiwan, China, Hong Kong, and Japan.
Cheng has been in quite a handful of Taiwanese dramas including Singles Villa and You Light Up My Star. He has been in very few films that include The Beloved and The Queens. Like many of the underrated and super talented men on this list, Cheng has yet to break out into international roles. He also has quite a musical background and has released a Mandopop EP, Sing a Song, in 2009. If we want an actor to play Li Shang who can sing in Mandarin beautifully, Cheng would be the one to do it and do it well.
6. Raymond Lam
Hong Kong-based actor and singer Raymond Lam had a childhood dream to become a professional dancer. He studied music at the University of Southern California and started out in numerous small television roles in Hong Kong. His first lead role was in the television drama Eternal Happiness and is memorable for his role as Ying Ching in the science fiction historical drama A Step into the Past. Lam has been nominated countless times for Best Actor in various Malaysian and Hong Kong television awards.
Lam’s most recent role was in the 2015 television drama Detectives and Doctors and has not been in much since. He has also never branched out into international cinema. Perhaps playing Li Shang in Mulan could be Lam’s great comeback and first mainstream international role. Lam also has nine studio albums under his belt and is an incredibly talented dancer and singer on top of being a great actor.
5. Takeshi Kaneshiro
Takeshi Kaneshiro is a Taiwanese-Japanese actor and singer most notable for his role as Jin in the 2004 epic House of Flying Daggers.
Kaneshiro started acting to television commercials in high school and decided to quit school in order to pursue his acting career. He is a talented singer and sings mostly in Mandarin and Cantonese, but no longer produces music. His first film was the 1993 drama Executioners and has been in many Hong Kong and Japanese films since then. Outside of acting and singing, Kaneshiro has also been a spokesperson and model for Emporio Armani and Prada as well as various other Japanese and Chinese commercial brands. He is also a practicing Buddhist.
4. Jon Foo
This English actor, martial artist, stuntman is known for his roles as the Wushu Fighter in The Protector and as Jin Kazama in Tekken.
Jon Foo was raised in London to Chinese-Singaporean and Irish-English parents. His mother and father are judo and karate practitioners, respectively. Foo started learning kung fu at the tender age of eight and started training seriously for wushu when he was a teenager.
Foo has been in numerous martial arts films including House of Fury, Bangkok Revenge, and Street Fighter: Legacy, and has also been in Batman Begins and Left for Dead. He is also known for taking over Jackie Chan’s signature role as Detective Lee in the television adaptation of Rush Hour. He is also a stuntman for other actors.
Foo would be a fantastic Li Shang because of his handsome looks, martial arts training, and acting abilities. His stuntman background would be great if the Mulan live-action film goes in a more action-packed direction.
3. Mike He
Mike He is a Taiwanese actor known for his memorable role as Ah Meng in the Taiwanese drama series Devil Beside You alongside Rainie Yang.
He has been in a ton of Taiwanese television dramas including Why Why Love, Go, Single Lady, and Bull Fighting with Godfrey Gao. He has been in a few films including 2012’s Bad Girls as Justin and The Golden Couple as Spark. He is also a talented singer and has contributed his singing voice to various television drama opening and ending theme songs. He has also appeared in numerous music videos as well, especially for his actress-and-singer costar in Devil Beside You, Rainie Yang.
He hasn’t been in many films or television shows since 2014, but we’d love to see him make a comeback and have a breakthrough international role as Li Shang. He is known for playing bad boys and misunderstood characters in his career, so he could give Li Shang an interesting edge in the Mulan live-action adaptation.
2. Lan cheng long
Lan Cheng Long (also known as Blue Lan) is a 37 year old Taiwanese actor, singer, and model from Yilan, Taiwan. He first got into modeling and acting after being discovered in a Taiwanese Coca-Cola commercial in 2000.
Long made his television drama debut in Meteor Garden in 2001, which became insanely popular around Asia and propelled his career. He has been in countless television dramas including Apple in Your Eye, Chocolat, and Dangerous Mind. He has been in several films including Hollywood Taiwan, The Wonderful Wedding, and most recently The Mysterious Family. Long is very popular in China and Taiwan and usually portrays suave, arrogant men in his roles. That may not be too similar to our just and kind Li Shang, but Long does bear a striking resemblance to Li Shang. Long has also branched out into more diverse roles since 2011, so maybe he could play Li Shang more straight-forwardly too.
1. Nicholas Tse
Nicholas Tse (also known as Tse Ting-fun) is a Hong Kong actor, singer, songwriter, entrepeneur, and martial artist. Talk about a quintuple threat!
Tse started out in the entertainment industry in 1996 as a singer and songwriter. He learned martial arts for television and continues to practice. His first film debut was in 1998 for the crime film Young and Dangerous: The Prequel and he won the Best New Performer Hong Kong Film Award for his performance. He even founded his own special effects company in Hong Kong that provides special effects services for movies and video games. Tse also won another Hong Kong Film Award for Best Actor for his role as Ghost Jr. in the 2010 film The Stool Pigeon.
Tse has a ton of acting and martial arts experience from his career, so it would be really cool to see how he’d transform the role of Li Shang to make it his own. It seems like the role he was born to play.
Mulan opens in U.S. theaters on November 2nd, 2018.
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