9:00am PT by Rebecca Ford
Disney Casts 'Mulan' Love Interest (Exclusive)
Disney's Mulan has cast Mulan's love interest: Yoson An, who hails from New Zealand.
The rising star, who is of Chinese descent, will star opposite Liu Yifei (also known as Crystal Liu), who is playing the titular heroine Hua Mulan, who disguises herself as a man in order to spare her elderly father from having to join the military.
An will play Chen Honghui, a confident and ambitious recruit who joins Commander Tung’s unit. He becomes Mulan's most important ally and eventual love interest. (This character differs from Li Shang, the Chinese army captain who was the main love interest in the animated film.)
Disney has made good on its plan to cast a primarily Chinese cast for their new film. The live-action movie already has several big Chinese names onboard, including Jet Li, who is playing the emperor of China, and Gong Li, who is playing the story's main villain, a poweful witch. Donnie Yen also has signed on to play Mulan's mentor, Commander Tung.
Additionally, The Hollywood Reporter can exclusively report that Chum Ehelepola has been cast in the role of Ramtish, who, along with Utkarsh Ambudkar's Skatch, are a con-artist duo in the film. The actor’s previous credits include Netflix’s Lady Dynamite, AMC’s Lodge 49 and Crackle's Sequestered. Ehelepola is repped by TCA Mgmt, Affirmative Entertainment, Mollison Keightley Management and Bloom Hergott.
Niki Caro is directing the film, which is set for a March 27, 2020, release. It is slated to start shooting in August in China and New Zealand.
Disney's 1998 animated Mulan, voice-starring Ming-Na Wen alongside Eddie Murphy and B.D. Wong, took in $304.3 million at the global box office and also earned Golden Globe and Academy Award nominations.
Playing Chen Honghui will likely be a breakout role for An, whose previous credits include the HBO Asia series Grace and the upcoming shark thriller The Meg. He also will be seen in Universal’s Mortal Engines, which is set to hit theaters in December. An is repped by Auckland Actors in New Zealand and Silver Lining Entertainment.