Entertainment The Little Mermaid Halle Bailey

Everything We Know About The Live-Action ‘The Little Mermaid’

By Kristin Myers
Halle Bailey smiles in a black and pink striped dress.
Shutterstock | 842245

Everything We Know About The Live-Action ‘The Little Mermaid’

“The Little Mermaid” is one of Disney’s most popular animated musicals. After premiering in 1989, the musical featured a rebellious mermaid named Ariel, voiced by Jodi Benson, who trades her voice to sea witch Ursula (Pat Carroll) in order to become a human and win the heart of Prince Eric.

The film, which featured a plethora of musical hits including “Kiss The Girl,” “Under the Sea,” and “Part of Your World,” went on to win several awards, including an Academy Award for Best Music and a Golden Globe Award for Best Original Score.

With several other animated films like “Beauty and the Beast,” “The Lion King,” and “Cruella,” being made in live-action, it’s finally time for “The Little Mermaid” to become part of our world. Here’s everything we know about the film so far.

Who Is In The Cast?

Halle Bailey reclines on the side of a boat wearing a long yellow robe.
Instagram | hallebailey

Although the casting decisions were not without controversy, the lead role of Ariel will be played Halle Bailey, whereas the role of Ursula will be played by Melissa McCarthy.

Jonah Hauer-King is slated to play Prince Eric, and Javier Bardem has been cast as Ariel’s father, King Triton.

Also appearing are Daveed Diggs as Sebastian, Awkwafina as a gender-swapped Scuttle, and Jacob Tremblay as Flounder.

The script was written by Jane Goldman, and Rob Marshall is slated to direct.

What Was The Casting Controversy?

Halle Bailey lies out in the middle of the ocean.
Instagram | hallebailey

The Disney cartoon depicts Ariel as a light-skinned mermaid with bright red hair, and Bailey, 21, has received several racist comments in regards to her casting.

Regardless, Bailey is trying to keep an upbeat attitude, despite the criticism.

“I feel like I'm dreaming and I'm just grateful and I don't pay attention to the negativity,” she said. “I just feel like this role was something bigger than me and greater and it's going to be beautiful. I'm just so excited to be a part of it.”

Fan Reactions

A drawing of what Bailey could look like as Ariel.
Instagram | thelittlemermaidbychris

Although some fans embraced the diverse spin on a popular cartoon, other fans tried to get #NotMyAriel trending.

“She doesn’t deserve to be the little mermaid,” one fan wrote. “there is no need to change a classic to this let’s create a new princess for her but her as Ariel is a joke #NotMyAriel.”

Regardless, some fans are looking forward to her take on the character, with one fan writing, “I am so excited for her to be Ariel she is just adorable.”

Another fan pointed out the irony in the controversy, tweeting, “Man, people got a lot of opinions on what race a half fish girl should be.”

When Is The Film Coming Out?

Halle Bailey leans out of the water at sunset.
Instagram | hallebailey

The release date for the film is currently set for May 26, 2023.

Although fans had previously received the choice whether to head to the local movie theater or cough up an extra thirty dollars to stream the movie on Disney+ in addition to their subscription fee, it seems doubtful that the film will be released via streaming until much later on.

After “Black Widow” star Scarlett Johansson sued the company, claiming that the streaming release breached her salary agreement, Disney has announced that the rest of its 2021 releases will only be available to watch in theatres.

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