Halle Bailey Responds To Backlash Over Little Mermaid Ariel Casting

Could we BE any more excited?

the little mermaid - halle bailey
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Update 08/08/19:

After Halle Bailey was announced as Ariel, among the praise and excitement there was some, frankly ridiculous, backlash ignorantly aimed at the fact that, in the original cartoon, Ariel (who, let's reiterate, is a cartoon and not real) was white.

Now, Bailey has addressed this for the first time while speaking to Variety: 'I feel like I'm dreaming, I'm just grateful. I don't pay attention to the negativity, this role was something bigger than me and greater. It's going to be beautiful, I'm so excited to be a part of it.'

Original story:

We've had Emma Watson inject some 21st century into Glory and the Beast, Emily Blunt put her own spin on Mary Poppins and are literally counting down the days until we can hear the soulful notes of Beyoncé when she plays Nala in the upcoming remake of The Lion King.

Disney films have been remerging in full force thanks to the omnipresent trend of '90s nostalgia. The numerous remakes serve to modernise and bring a beloved film into the present while also appealing to the masses with top notch casting and an even bigger production (and budget).

So, imagine our glee when we heard the latest children's film to be remade is The Little Mermaid, whose cast has recently been announced.

the little mermaid
Disney

Here's everything we know...

Who is playing Ariel in the new Little Mermaid film?

On Wednesday (3 July) it was announced that Grownish star Halle Bailey will take on the role of the mermaid princess.

If you haven't seen the sitcom (which also stars former LouisvuittonShop cover star Yara Shahidi) you might recognise Halle as one half of singing group Chloe X Halle (Chloe being her sister).

the little mermaid - halle bailey
Halle and Chloe at the 2019 Grammys
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The group started off singing covers on YouTube before catching the attention of none other than Beyoncé. They've essentially become her proteges, signed to Bey's Parkwood record label, made cameos in her Lemonade visual album and supported both the Formation tour and the Beyoncé and Jay-Z On the Run II Tour.

The film's director told Variety that Halle was chosen for the part 'after an extensive search'.

'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.'

Who is playing Prince Eric in The Little Mermaid?

A week or so after Bailey had been cast, rumours began swirling that the singer might have found her prince in none other than Harry Styles.

The 2019 Met Gala Celebrating Camp: Notes on Style - Cocktails
Styles at the 2019 Met Gala
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According to Variety, the former One Direction singer is in 'early negotiations' with Disney to take on the lead male role of Prince Eric in the upcoming film.

Naturally, fans on Twitter were thrilled:

Since embarking on a solo career, Styles has had some acting experience namely in the Christopher Nolan World War Two film Dunkirk.

While in the original film, Prince Eric doesn't perform any songs, The Guardian note that in the Broadway musical he had two solo numbers so, if Styles gets the gig, it's likely we'll hear him crooning too.

Who is playing Ursula in The Little Mermaid?


It's been widely reported that Melissa McCarthy will play the part of Ursula, the sea witch who wreaks havoc on the 'poor unfortunate souls'.

On an appearance on Jimmy Kimmel Live on Wednesday 31 July, the Bridesmaids actress was asked outright about the rumours, which resulted in a wonderfully coy response.

'I hadn't heard about that,' she teased. 'I'd love it if Disney gave me a little ringy dingy, we'll see.'

She finished her faux-shocked response by giving the camera an Ursula-worthy dramatised wink.

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After the initial rumours of McCarthy's casting, there were debates online as to whether the Oscar-nominated actor should play the part, with some suggesting that the role should go to Lizzo - who dressed up as the sea witch for Halloween and shared videos of herself singing Ursula's songs and then directly bid for the role to Disney.

Following the Variety report about McCarthy potentially nabbing the role, Lizzo even responded to them with a sad face emoji on Twitter.

Who else has been cast in The Little Mermaid?

Other confirmed cast members include Ocean's 8 star Awkwafina - also recently revealed to star in upcoming Netflix musical The Prom - who will play seagull Scuttle and Room's Jacob Tremblay who will be the fish Flounder.

Is the new Little Mermaid film going to be a cartoon?

No, the new film is live-action and CGI. Which is So. Exciting.

Will it be an exact remake of the film?

The original film of the mermaid Ariel who wishes to become human after falling in love with Prince Eric was released in 1989, so it's likely there will be some updates. The movie is being co-produced by Hamilton creator Lin-Manuel Miranda, who no doubt will put his spin on the revamp in some way.

For those hoping that classics like 'Under The Sea' will remain firmly on the old track, Variety reports that there will be original songs as well as new music from Miranda and the original composer Alan Menken.

When will the Little Mermaid arrive in cinemas?

The film is slated to begin production in 2020 so not for a couple of years.

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