The Straits Times/Asia News Network
Gong Li attends the screening of 'Cafe Society' at the opening gala of the annual 69th Cannes Film Festival in May 2016. The actress will join the live-action movie 'Mulan'. (Shutterstock/taniavolobueva)
Top stars Gong Li, Jet Li and Donnie Yen have been cast in Disney's highly anticipated live-action version of Mulan.
They join Chinese actress Liu Yifei, who had previously been named as the titular role of the iconic heroine who impersonated a man to take her aging warrior father's place to join the war during the Han dynasty.
In the upcoming Mulan, slated for release in 2020, Jet Li will be playing the Chinese emperor, while Gong Li and Donnie Yen are set to play the respective new characters of a villainous witch and Mulan's mentor.
The film, to be directed by film-maker Niki Caro (Whale Rider, 2002), will be shot in China and New Zealand.
Disney's animated 1998 film Mulan was a commercial and critical success, and was named a Top 10 film of the year by the American Film Institute.
In recent years, Disney has had success making live-action versions of their classic animated films. Some examples include Cinderella ( 2015 ) starring Lily James, Maleficent ( 2014 ) starring Angelina Jolie and The Jungle Book ( 2016 ), which featured the voices of A-listers such as Ben Kingsley, Idris Elba and Bill Murray. Last year's Beauty And The Beast starring Emma Watson grossed over US$1.7 billion (S$2.23 billion) worldwide, making it the second-highest-grossing film of 2017 after Star Wars: The Last Jedi.
Besides Mulan, the studio is also working on live-action versions of Dumbo and Aladdin.