For over a decade, Disney has been returning to many of its beloved films and remaking them within a live-action setting. The House of Mouse has seen massive success with its re-imaginings of The Lion King, Aladdin, Sleeping Beauty and Alice in Wonderland, to name a few, and there's many more to come. The next one is The Little Mermaid, which is making history in that the studio cast Black actress/singer Halle Bailey as Ariel.
When it was announced that the Grown-ish star had nabbed the role, there was some of the partially expected backlash, but many more fans are embracing the casting choice. When the 21-year-old was recently a guest on Talks With Mama Tina, she got candid about how it felt to be cast as Ariel at first. In her words:
Halle Bailey was chosen out of an “extensive” search for the live-action Ariel. Director Rob Marshall teased the actress having a “rare combination of spirit, heart, youth, innocence, and substance” he felt necessary to take on the beloved role. While speaking on the talk show hosted by Beyoncé’s mother, Tina Knowles-Lawson, Bailey continued:
While sharing the experience, Halle Bailey couldn’t hold back the tears as she expressed how meaningful the opportunity is not only to her, but the many young children who will have a new Ariel to look up to. Halle Bailey and her sister Chloe Bailey were discovered by Beyoncé when Halle was 13 and Chloe was 15. As Chloe x Halle, the pair were signed to Beyoncé’s record label and went on to tour with Queen Bey.
The Little Mermaid remake will also star Melissa McCarthy as Ursula, Javier Bardem as King Triton, Daveed Diggs as Sebastian, Jacob Tremblay as Flounder and Awkwafina as Scuttle. It will feature the original songs written by Howard Ashman and Alan Menken, along with a few new tunes by Lin-Manuel Miranda and Menken.
The movie wrapped production in summer 2021 amidst COVID-19 delays, but the wait is still a year and a half away. The Little Mermaid will surely make a splash in theaters on May 26, 2023. While we wait for it, check out what upcoming 2022 movies are on the way.
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