MULAN STAR LIU YIFEI
THE live-action Mulan movie is heading to Disney+ this week. To celebrate the launch, Adam Tanswell chatted to Liu Yifei, who plays Mulan!
How does it feel to be the lead actor in Disney’s Mulan?
I’m enjoying every single moment. I am so happy and thankful for this beautiful opportunity. It’s been wonderful because winning this role tells me I’m on the right path and it opens up my imagination to so much more. I love acting so much. I’ll never give it up!
How similar are you to Mulan?
Mulan never gives up. She has the courage to look deep inside herself and to make choices to be the best version of her. I am the same. When people ask me about my goals as an actress, I always say: “Don’t limit yourself.” Mulan would say the same thing.
What went through your mind when you first heard about the auditions for Mulan?
If you’re asking me: “Was I nervous?” Of course I was nervous! I had to ask myself: “Why do you want to go for this audition? Is it because this is a huge movie or is there another reason?” I asked for a script to look through and I spent a whole day processing everything before the audition.
How tough was the audition?
I did my homework. I wrote down lots of notes throughout the flight [from China to LA] and I said to myself: “I’m going to bring my strength and my acting skills to this role.” After I said my lines, I went through some physical training, which was very interesting. They would record everything! I had to push myself really hard with all the exercise and the push-ups – and the trainer was writing down notes all the time.
How did you physically prepare for such an action-packed role?
I would meditate and train myself to think in a certain way to be able to focus. Neither me nor Mulan is a superhero, that’s for sure! In the action scenes, my body just reacted to the story. Every night I would do homework for the character. I would try to find a new passion every night to get me through the next day’s training. I would focus.
Was it scary to jump on rooftops on set?
I had a harness, which was very secure. It’s funny, I had to learn to wear the harness because I don’t wear them in my everyday life, but I’ve worn them in a few movies. I’m not a professional athlete, so I had to learn a number of new things every day.
What other training did you tackle?
They wanted to get my body prepared for the role, so I did some basic physical training and some martial arts training. It was really helpful, but really tough. Every morning, the first thing I did was a work-out for two hours. And then I’d do two hours of martial arts training later in the day.
You also sing on the movie’s soundtrack. What do you think of the iconic Mulan song, Reflection?
Reflection is definitely one of my favourite songs. I sang it for one of my auditions, so it’s very special to me. It’s very sweet and strong at the same time. I love it.
What would you say is the core message of the movie?
It’s about unconditional love for family. The two daughters in our movie both bring honour to their family in a traditional way and in a new way. That’s the heart of the story. It’s also about not limiting yourself.
Mulan is available to stream on Disney+ Premier from 4 September at £19.99. You must have a Disney+ account to stream this movie