Zendaya is interested in playing Ariel in Disney's live-action The Little Mermaid. Disney may already have the Marvel Cinematic Universe and Star Wars breaking box office records, but their recent run of live-action remakes has also played a part in their incredible success. Alice in Wonderland started this phenomenon by earning over $1 billion worldwide, and kicked off a progression that has since included live-action re-imaginings of Maleficent, Cinderella, The Jungle Book, Beauty and the Beast, and Christopher Robin. Disney has shown no signs of slowing down either, with over a dozen such projects in the works.
One of the remakes they're developing is an updated take on Little Mermaid. They've reportedly courted Rob Marshall to direct the project, after his work on Mary Poppins Returns. Disney's yet to confirm their specific plans for the movie, but a recent rumor claimed Spider-Man: Homecoming star Zendaya had been offered the lead role.
Speaking to Variety, Zendaya confirmed that the previous rumor was just that, a rumor. Even though no official talks have happened between her and Disney, she did say that she's interested in the part. She revealed why the role of Ariel and starring in Little Mermaid is appealing to her, and it's because of the themes:
Speaking your truth, following your heart…There’s a million. And that’s the idea, we all just want at least one young person to just leave and feel inspired and want to know a little about something else or someone else and just bridge those gaps.
Zendaya is no stranger to working with the House of Mouse, being one of the more recent Disney Channel stars to find success beyond that realm. She starred in two different Disney shows, Shake It Up and K.C. Undercover, so the company is clearly a fan of her work. Marvel Studios even brought her into the MCU in a pivotal part, as she's essentially their equivalent of Mary Jane. Outside of Disney, she also starred in Fox's crowd-pleasing musical The Greatest Showman last year. Zendaya can also both sing and act, making her a great choice for Ariel. Now that her interest is noted, maybe Disney will actually make a move to get her involved.
The casting of Zendaya as Ariel would be the latest example of studios updating previous iterations of stories - and their source material - to diversify the characters. Zendaya has already done this with Marvel and handled any backlash like a pro, so there's no doubt she could do the same with Little Mermaid. This is just Zendaya expressing interest in the part though, so it'll be up to Disney to decide whether or not to seriously consider her. If they do, there's reason to believe Zendaya would be an excellent Ariel, especially given her passion for what she stands for and what the story represents. So if Disney really is looking to update The Little Mermaid, Zendaya is interested.