Disney’s upcoming live-action adaptation of Mulan has found its female lead. Per The Hollywood Reporter, Chinese actress Liu Yifei, also known as Crystal Liu, has been cast in the title role. A statement from Disney revealed more information about the film will be released in coming weeks.
The casting process reportedly involved a year-long worldwide search, during which almost 1000 actresses auditioned for the role of Hua Mulan, who posed as a man in order to take her father’s place in the army in fifth-century China. Per THR, casting an ethnically Chinese actress was a high priority for the studio. Liu is one of the most popular actresses in China, having appeared in several hit television dramas there. She’s also acted in English-speaking roles including 2008’s The Forbidden Kingdom opposite Jackie Chan and 2004’s Outcast with Nicolas Cage.
When the film was initially announced, controversy arose over rumors Disney planned to replace the character of Li Shang with a white man, but the studio later confirmed that Mulan’s love interest—along with all of the film’s significant roles—will be Chinese.
The live-action Mulan will be directed by Niki Caro (The Zookeeper’s Wife), and is due in theaters in 2019. It has some big shoes to fill, as the 1998 animated film, featuring BD Wong and Eddie Murphy, earned more than $300 million worldwide and landed Oscar and Golden Globe nominations. This is one of several live-action adaptations Disney has in the works, with others including Aladdin, The Lion Kingand The Little Mermaid. Disney’s recent adaptation of Beauty and the Beast, released in March 2017, is the highest-grossing live-action musical ever.
This article originally appeared on Harper’s BAZAAR US.