It’s been a busy month under the sea. First, Disney announced that Halle Bailey of sister singing duo Chloe x Halle would be playing Ariel in the studio’s live-action Little Mermaid. Then this week, Moana actress Auli’i Cravalho was cast as the Disney princess in ABC’s Little Mermaid Live! coming in November.
The two Ariels were present at the same event, Variety Power of Young Hollywood gala, on Tuesday. Auli’i Cravalho showed her excitement to share the role with Halle Bailey in different Disney projects. Here’s what she told ET:
Oh, I can't wait to see her and congratulate her. Yeah I think there's so much room for so many different types of Ariels and so many mermaids. I'm so honored to be able to lend my voice and my interpretation of Ariel and I cannot wait to see Halle's.
Halle Bailey may have received some negative internet backlash following the announcement (primarily regarding her skin color not matching the animation’s fair-skinned character), but she’s getting a ton more support! Auli’i Cravalho follows original Ariel, Jodi Benson, and the first non-white Ariel, Diana Huey, who have shared the excitement of her casting.
Jodi Benson explained that she feels the “spirit of the character” is what matters for a remake of her iconic character, while Diana Huey told Bailey to keep her head up amidst the sea of negativity. The singer/Grown-ish actress is handling things with grace, recently sharing she pays no mind to the haters and shared her excitement for the project. Bailey added this to ET while at the gala:
It means so much to me… I feel very honored and really grateful for the opportunity. Ariel was one of my favorite princesses growing up, so it's a dream come true.
Do you think the two Ariels had a chance to meet? No pictures were shared if they did! It’s not often that two young actresses get cast as the same iconic princess in the matter of a month. Maybe they can practice “Part of Your World” together and Cravalho can impart some Disney princess wisdom on Bailey since the actress has already played Moana for the studio!
Disney fans will be seeing Auli’i Cravalho’s take on Ariel much before Halle Bailey’s. ABC’s Little Mermaid Live! will be the network’s first time airing a live version of a stage musical, following in the footsteps of NBC and FOX, which have produced popular musicals such as Jesus Christ Superstar, Grease, The Wiz, Rent, Hairspray, Peter Pan and The Sound of Music for television.
Cravalho will be joined by Queen Latifah’s Ursula and Shaggy’s Sebastian for the live affair. Back on the big-screen side of things, Melissa McCarthy will reportedly be playing the sea witch – though she’s playing coy about it. Other casting reports have One Direction’s Harry Styles as Prince Eric, Crazy Rich Asian’s Awkwafina as Scuttle, Good Boys’ Jacob Tremblay as Scuttle and Javier Bardem as King Triton.
The televised stage version coming on November 5, 2019 will hold over fans until the live-action release. That project doesn’t have a release date yet, but production is expected to begin in early 2020.