Following Halle Bailey's casting in the live-action reimagining of The Little Mermaid, superstar Zendaya took to Twitter to celebrate. Helmed by director Rob Marshall, who's handled other musicals like Into The Woods and Mary Poppins Returns, the new film aims to pay homage to the animated Disney classic while updating it for a modern audience. Casting an African-American actress as Ariel is the first exciting step that suggests the latest version will open new doors, but it likely won't be the last.
Before Bailey's casting was confirmed, rumors floated around for months that Zendaya was in the running for Ariel. While she later denied any talks took place with Disney, she did admit that the role was appealing. Given how pervasive the internet whispers of Zendaya starring in The Little Mermaid were, however, many might wonder about her reaction to hearing the official announcement. Thankfully there are only good vibes between the two talented actresses, and the proof is in the social media.
Zendaya tweeted her congratulations to @chloexhalle, the official account for Halle Bailey's R&B duo with sister Chloe. "Yeeeeessss!!," the star of Spider-Man: Far From Home cheered, "Here for thiiiissss!!" And it's no surprise she's excited, as Zendaya herself helped changed the face of pop culture when she was cast as the iconic MJ. While the Marvel Cinematic Universe may not be calling her Mary Jane, she's still fulfilling the role of leading lady in Spider-Man's life. To see her joy over the casting of another young black actress in an important role, one in which she'll be the hero of the story, is nothing short of heartwarming.
In fact, Zendaya wasn't the only one to commemorate the occasion with a tweet. Actress Candice Patton, who made waves when she was cast as Iris West-Allen on CW's The Flash, also sent out her best wishes. She also included an important reminder: "Do not let them steal your joy over this moment." The backlash over Bailey's casting has already begun, and it's an experience that both Zendaya and Patton had to suffer as well.
Exciting to hear that Halle from @chloexhalle will be playing the beloved Ariel! 🧜🏾♀️— Candice Patton (@candicepatton) July 3, 2019
Do not let them steal your joy over this moment. 💜
Whether fans have enjoyed individual Disney remakes or not, the upcoming The Little Mermaid has all the right ingredients for success. Halle Bailey has already proven her chops on the Freeform show Grown-ish, which she costars in alongside her sister, and her singing voice speaks for itself in Chloe x Halle songs. She's got the spunk and charisma that it takes to pull off the inquisitive and mischievous Ariel, and the cast around her is shaping up to be equally stellar. It's wonderful to see more established black actresses celebrating a new victory for representation, and soon enough we'll see Bailey herself cheering on the next young woman of color who achieves her dreams.