Action star Jet Li puts aside jumps and kicks, tackles regal role in Disney's 'Mulan'

International action star Jet Li faces a different challenge for his role in Disney's live-action "Mulan" - he has to sit still!

ByGeorge Pennacchio OTRC logo
Thursday, September 3, 2020
Action star Jet Li puts aside jumps, kicks, tackles regal role in Disney's 'Mulan'
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Action star Jet Li made a name for himself with high-flying kicks and big fight scenes, but had to learn to sit still for his role in Disney's new live-action "Mulan."

Disney's live-action take on its 1998 Oscar-nominated animated classic "Mulan" is filled with high-flying kicks and jumps and acrobatic battles.

That's something actor Jet Li has made a name for himself doing on the big screen.

But in "Mulan," he faced a different challenge: sitting still.

Jet Li plays the emperor in "Mulan," which means much - but not all - of his work is done sitting on a throne. The actor gained international fame as one of the world's most talented action stars, in movies including "Hero" where he fought against his "Mulan" co-star Donnie Yen. So this was a whole new world.

"You always want to move, even when you just sit there," said Jet Li. "I want to show deep emotions and things. And I asked the director and she said ! No! You're a king, you're not Jet Li. You control everything. The bad news - keep inside. No face, no emotion!"

When I told the star that I didn't even recognize him when I saw the film, he laughed heartily, saying "Good!"

"Mulan" streams on Disney+ beginning Friday. If you have a subscription you'll also need to get premiere access for this title, for an additional $29.99. Regular Disney+ subscribers will have access to the film for no additional cost starting in December.

The Walt Disney Co. is the parent company of this station.