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!

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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

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