A live-action remake of The Little Mermaid is on the way from Disney which will introduce a new incarnation of Ariel. Played by Halle Bailey, the Chloe x Halle singer admits she was shocked when she first learned she was wanted to read for the role of Ariel, as she expected Disney to go with a more traditional depiction of the character. Opening up about her casting on the Talks with Mama Tina show on Facebook, Bailey detailed why she felt so surprised about the offer.
“Getting that role felt very surreal,” Bailey said. “It was much of a shocker for me. Even when I was asked to audition, I looked at it and I was like, ‘Me? For Ariel?’ … My image of Ariel that I’ve had is the red hair, the pale skin, and the tail, and she was amazing to me. I loved her, like we all did. But that’s what I’ve seen her as for so long.”
Bailey felt the pressure while preparing to audition for this role, recalling that she was even “sobbing” at one point while going through her lines with her father. The Black-ish star added, “Going into the filming process, I had to learn and say to myself that you can do it and it’s okay, and that my sister is here, and she was. It was just a beautiful experience for me to kind of spread my wings in that way.”
“But [I’m] so grateful that I kind of get to reinvent Ariel and show other young, beautiful Black and brown children that hey, you can be this too,” she went on to state. “You are magical and mythical and all of the wonderful things in between as well.”
Those who worked with Bailey on the feature were left very impressed with the new Ariel’s singing abilities. This includes Javier Bardem, who plays this movie’s incarnation of King Triton. Feeling he could never compete with Bailey, Bardem told ET, “[When you’re] close to Halle, it’s impossible to sing… She was warming up her voice near me, and I was like ‘What was that?’ She goes, ‘Oh, I was just warming up… It would take me five years to do that!”
Daveed Diggs, who provides the voice of Sebastian the crab, said of the project: “I had a great time doing it. I recently got to do an ADR session, which is the first time I got to see anything of anything in it, which was pretty wild. It’s weird, and wild, and beautiful. I’m very excited, and Halle [Bailey] is a force. I’m just happy to be playing the crab that gets to sit next to her.”
The Little Mermaid is scheduled to be released in movie theaters in May 2023. Along with Bailey, Bardem, and Diggs, the movie stars Jonah Hauer-King as Prince Eric, Melissa McCarthy as Ursula, Jude Akuwudike as Grimsby, Jacob Tremblay as Flounder, and Awkwafina as Scuttle. Rob Marshall directs using a screenplay by Jane Goldman and David Magee.
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