Chinese actress Liu Yifei cast as Disney's Mulan

FILE - In this June 30, 2008 file photo, actress Yifei Liu arrives at the "Hancock" premiere in Los Angeles. Walt Disney Studios has cast the Chinese actress as the title character Mulan in the live-action epic from director Niki Caro. (AP Photo/ Matt Sayles, File)

LOS ANGELES - It took a year of searching and nearly 1,000 candidates, but the Walt Disney Studios has found its Mulan.

The studio says Wednesday that Chinese actress Liu Yifei will play the warrior in the live-action epic from director Niki Caro.

The 30-year-old actress, who is also known as Crystal Liu, is well known in China as a model, actress and singer, but less so stateside. She has appeared in films like "The Forbidden Kingdom" with Jackie Chan and "Outcast" with Nicolas Cage.

Disney says the story will be inspired by the animated film from 1998 and The Ballad of Mulan. Bill Kong, who has produced films like "House of Flying Daggers" and "Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon" is executive producing the film.

It is expected to hit theatres in 2019.

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