Will Natasha Liu Bordizzo portray the Chinese heroine in a live-action film?
Chinese social media is abuzz with speculation that 22-year-old Australian actress Natasha Liu Bordizzo has scored the role of Hua Mulan in Disney’s upcoming live-action adaptation.
Bordizzo made her big screen debut last year in Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon: Sword of Destiny (卧虎藏龙：青冥宝剑), the sequel to the 2000 hit, in which she played the young martial arts acolyte “Snow Vase.”
Rumors started spreading on Chinese social media last week that the young actress had nabbed the role of the legendary female heroine from an ancient Chinese ballad.
The speculation got to such a fever pitch that the official Disney Weibo eventually weighed into the discussion on Friday to say the final decision on the role of Mulan had not been made and that they were “still in the casting process.”
Neither Bordizzo nor her representatives responded to queries from China Film Insider about her potential involvement in the project.
The former law student from Sydney is also a black belt band one in taekwondo and has trained in kempo karate — skills which she says helped her get her role in Crouching Tiger 2.
No doubt those abilities would also come in handy in depicting Hua Mulan, the legendary female warrior who fought in male disguise as a general in her father’s stead in China 2,000 years ago.
Ever since the live-action remake of Disney’s Mulan was announced, fans have been concerned that Disney would whitewash the story. The studio had to quell rumors they were planning to include a white male lead in the film.
Last year the studio promised a “global casting search” to find a Chinese actress to play the legendary female heroine. Chinese actresses like Fan Bingbing, Zhang Ziyi, and Liu Yifei have been among many others fans have speculated would be good for the role.
Bordizzo, whose father is of Italian heritage and mother Chinese, describes herself as “very Australian” but says she got a lot more in touch with her Chinese side after starring in Crouching Tiger 2.
“I’ve been told my Mandarin is at about the level of a 10-year-old Chinese girl so that’s pretty much where I’m at,’ she told Australian newspaper The Daily Telegraph in February last year.
“Fortunately they say that it’s cute, not stupid.”
Bordizzo is no stranger to China, having been there to promote Crouching Tiger 2 last year. The model/actor was in country as recently as six weeks ago on a trip she described as her “very own Lost in Translation.”
She is also active on Sina Weibo where she is already rapidly approaching 60,000 followers.
The movie is officially set for release on November 2, 2018.