Halle Bailey Talks Seeing Herself As Ariel In The Little Mermaid For The First Time And How She Reacted

Halle Bailey in the music video for Ungodly Hour
(Image credit: SME)

Since wrapping The Little Mermaid in 2021, Halle Bailey has kept mum about what moviegoers can expect from the live-action adaptation. Remaining tight-lipped wasn’t just a thing for Bailey as her cast members and Disney have not shared much yet, though there are a few Little Mermaid details out there. While the live-action feature won’t premiere until 2023, we now know Bailey has already gotten a first look at herself as Ariel. The entertainer revealed her reaction after seeing herself as the beloved Disney character in The Little Mermaid for the first time.

For any actor, getting a first look at a project can be an emotional affair. Of course, the “Do It” singer was no exception as the Disney remake is her feature film debut, and also a big deal, given Bailey's been able to "reinvent" Ariel for a new era. Her pride in portraying the Disney Renaissance character has remained steadfast, and Bailey has spoken on getting the first look at herself (red locks and all) as Ariel. Speaking to ET at the BET Awards, the actress recalled,

I've seen little clips... and I cried the other day. Because I was like, 'I don't understand how this is happening! How this is even me? It's very overwhelming. I get really emotional just talking about it.

Seeing any footage can be an emotional release for any actor. Given all the pressure and expectations on Bailey’s shoulders, crying sounded like the perfect response to me. She already knew the importance of reinventing Ariel as a Black actress for a new generation. It sounds like it was a surreal moment for The Color Purple actress to finally see herself after months of filming and pre-and post-production.

Given her reaction, the singer seemed pleased with the footage she’s seen so far, which could be a good sign for the Disney film and fans who plan to see it. Of course, the final verdict on her take on Ariel won’t be seen until The Little Mermaid arrives in theaters on May 26, 2023.

After wrapping up her film debut, the singer already scored another musical role as she plays younger Nettie in the movie adaptation of the Broadway musical The Color Purple. Just like her interpretation of Ariel, Bailey hasn’t spoken about the role very much. She mentioned in the interview the film should wrap this week. She expressed she could  “pinch” herself to be part of the musical film given the all-star cast and the acclaimed original 1985 film serving as the base. Like The Little Mermaid, the stage-to-screen adaptation won't arrive in theaters until 2023 on December 20.

Of course, The Little Mermaid live-action remake is just one of multiple upcoming Disney movies arriving in theaters over the next year or so. Halle Bailey has another role lined up as she’ll star alongside Euphoria’s Angus Cloud in the thriller The Line, as well. She's in demand and we'll keep you updated regarding where she lands next.

Adreon Patterson
News Writer

A boy from Greenwood, South Carolina. CinemaBlend Contributor. An animation enthusiast (anime, US and international films, television). Freelance writer, designer and artist. Lover of music (US and international).