Disney is still trying to figure out how the studio is going to release Mulan, the Disney live-action remake sitting on the shelf, but Disney was already well on the way to getting the live-action version of The Little Mermaid underway when everything was shut down due to the global pandemic. That doesn't mean all movement on the project has ceased, as it's now being rumored that Disney has been in touch with Grammy-winning recording artist Kacey Musgraves about taking a role in the new film.
The rumor comes from The Disinsider, who tends to be reliable when it comes to Disney news, so we can give this a little bit more credence. The report states that multiple sources have confirmed that meetings between Disney and Kacey Musgraves' representatives have taken place, what's less clear, and therefore not confirmed, is if any deal between the two sides has been reached, or exactly what Musgraves' role in the new Little Mermaid would be.
While the role is not confirmed, the indication is that Kacey Musgraves would play the role of Vanessa, the human form of Ursula, which the sea witch uses to put Eric under a spell in order to keep Eric and Ariel from advancing their relationship.
It's easy to see why Kacey Musgraves might be considered to play the part, there's already a resemblance between her and the original animated version, though again, that portion of this has to be called a rumor at this point. Since we fully expect the new Little Mermaid to make some changes to the animated version, there could be other roles that don't even exist in the previous film that could be what Musgraves is being considered for.
Kacey Musgraves has worked with Disney in the past, most recently she recorded a version of "All is Found" for the Frozen II soundtrack, which could be heard over the film's closing credits. It can't be discounted that discussions between the two sides could just be discussing another musical project, like recording a radio-friendly version of Part of Your World to go on the soundtrack of this film or something of that nature. Although, Musgraves could just as easily end up recording a new song for the soundtrack in addition to playing a role in the film, even if the two things aren't directly related.
Still, the idea of seeing Kacey Musgraves as Vanessa is certainly an intriguing idea. It also makes one wonder if the live-action version of The Little Mermaid will give Ursula/Vanessa her own song. each of the live-action adaptations that have stayed musicals have added at least one new song to the mix. Indications have been that Prince Eric will get his own song this time around and there have also been indications of several other new songs as well, so perhaps Vanessa will get one of them.