Disney's live-action The Little Mermaid has found its Ariel, and now you can hear her sing. The original The Little Mermaid is an animated classic that was released in 1989 based on the fairy tale by Hans Christian Andersen, and it kicked off what's known as the Disney Renaissance. This was the ten-year span between 1989 and 1999 when Disney released a series of successful films such as Aladdin, Beauty and the Beast, The Lion King, and several others. The Little Mermaid was also notable for being the first Disney animated film to receive an Oscar nomination in over a decade.
The live-action version of the beloved classic will be directed by Rob Marshall, who's already helmed both Into the Woods and Mary Poppins Returns for Disney. Original composer Alan Menken and Lin-Manuel Miranda are on board to write new songs for the film, which will be used in addition to the movie's original songs. The last couple of weeks have seen a flurry of casting announcements for the film, with Melissa McCarthy in talks to play the sea witch Ursula and Jacob Tremblay being considered to play Ariel's friend, Flounder. Meanwhile, Awkwafina, fresh off a scene-stealing turn in Crazy Rich Asians, is in talks for the seagull Scuttle. Disney capped off the news yesterday with the reveal that singer and actress Halle Bailey has been cast as Ariel.
Bailey is best known for the duo she formed with her sister, Chloe x Halle. The two wrote the theme song for the Freeform TV series Grown-ish and also star in the show. After being cast in The Little Mermaid, Bailey received a message of support from Zendaya, who was once rumored to have been offered the part. And Halle Berry, whose name looks enough like Bailey's to have caused some confusion, offered congratulations as well. Writer and comedian Danielle Radford took to Twitter to share the video of Bailey singing the National Anthem with her sister. Check it out below:
Since I’m awake anyway, here is one of the best National Anthem performances you will ever hear. Take it away Ariel pic.twitter.com/J1ZcTJRtW1— Pansexual chocolate 🏳️🌈 (@danielleradford) July 4, 2019
When announcing Bailey's casting, Rob Marshall stated that "...it was abundantly clear that Halle possesses that rare combination of spirit, heart, youth, innocence, and substance - plus a glorious singing voice - all intrinsic qualities necessary to play this iconic role." Disney also said that there would be more casting announcements made in the coming weeks and that production on the film will begin in 2020. The live-action The Little Mermaid will follow other live-action Disney films like Beauty and the Beast, The Jungle Book, and Cinderella. Disney has had a lot of success in the last few years with this concept, and 2019 has already seen live-action versions of Aladdin and Dumbo, with The Lion King out July 19.
Each film has taken its own approach to casting, especially with the lead or co-leads. Beauty and the Beast had Emma Watson, a proven actress with little singing experience; Aladdin cast lesser-known actors as Aladdin and Jasmine, though Naomi Scott, who played Jasmine, was a singer as well. While Beauty and the Beast was more successful than Aladdin, it's still refreshing to see them cast someone with both singing and acting experience in The Little Mermaid. Plus, the video shows that Bailey has the chops to take on "Part of Your World" and other classic songs from the original film. Fans will no doubt be excited to see what she does with the role of Ariel.
Source: Danielle Radford