Disney is getting ready to go back Under the Sea with The Little Mermaid. The studio added the classic fish out of water tale to its growing list of live-action remakes with a new take on the beloved 1989 animated classic. The principal cast for the film is set, with Halle Bailey starring as Ariel, Jonah Hauer-King as Prince Eric, Melissa McCarthy as Ursula, Javier Bardem as King Triton and more.
Here's everything you need to know about The Little Mermaid remak.
The Little Mermaid will be part of our world May 26, 2023, Disney announced, per The Wrap.
McCarthy previously confirmed that the movie had been shooting prior to the COVID-19 pandemic. "For The Little Mermaid, hopefully, if everything is…safe, we go back to shooting in January in London, which is very exciting, which is very exciting," she told Andy Cohen in December 2020 on Watch What Happens Live.
She went on to describe her experience playing the tentacled character. "I have such an affection for Ursula," McCarthy said. "I know she’s the villain, but I’ve just always kind of been like, ‘Oh my god.’ I mean, she’s kind of delicious to play. I’m just kind of doing it as if I could be like the vaudevillian night club act that lives in my heart. It’s just so fun, you can’t go too far with her and I’m excited to see it."
In July 2019, Disney announced that Bailey, one-half of the singing duo Chloe x Halle and a Grown-ish star, was cast to play Ariel. “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,” the film's director, Rob Marshall (Into the Woods, Chicago), said in a statement at the time. Halle announced the news on Twitter, writing, "dream come true..."
"I feel like I'm dreaming and I'm just grateful and I don't pay attention to the negativity," Bailey told Variety after a racist controversy followed her casting announcement. "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."
Jacob Tremblay and Awkwafina will play two of Ariel's close friends. Tremblay, who has starred in Before I Wake and The Book of Henry, will voice Flounder, while rapper and Crazy Rich Asians star Awkwafina will voice Scuttle.
On November 12, The Hollywood Reporter confirmed that Hauer-King had been cast as Ariel's love interest Prince Eric, rounding out the movie's major roles. Earlier this year, The Wrap reported that Harry Styles had turned down the role, and Deadline reported in September that Cameron Cuffe (Krypton) and Hauer-King (2017's Little Women) both tested for it as well.
In July, Variety reported that Oscar winner Bardem was "circling" the role of Ariel's father, King Triton. McCarthy will play Ursula, the main antagonist in the film, after news broke in June that she was "in talks" to join the reboot as the Sea Witch. In October 2019, Variety reported that the voice singing "Under the Sea" would belong to Hamilton's Daveed Diggs. The actor, who also appeared in Wonder and Blindspotting, will play Ariel's crab friend Sebastian.
The first cast addition of 2021 was The Undoing's Noma Dumezweni, Deadline reports. After her performance as Haley Fitzgerald, the whip-smart attorney of Hugh Grant's Jonathan Fraser, she'll be singing a different tune. According to the outlet, Dumezweni is joining The Little Mermaid in an all-new, unspecified role.
In addition to hearing the iconic songs from composer Alan Menken and the late lyricist Howard Ashman, Hamilton's Lin-Manuel Miranda will work with Menken on new music. This will be Miranda's second Disney project, following his Oscar-nominated work on Moana in 2016. That same year, Miranda talked about being tapped for the job with Vulture. "This came out of a conversation with Disney, and basically they were like, 'There's no bigger fan of this movie than you, and no bigger public supporter,'" he recalled, tweeting updates about the project in the years since.
In September of 2022, a teaser was released at the D23 expo, featuring Bailey's gorgeous long tail and even more extraordinary musical stylings. The teaser shows a number of iconic scenes from the animated version of the movie, including Ariel's exploration of a sunken ship, the interior of her underwater cave of wonders, and a hint of the fiery explosion that will connect her to Prince Eric.
There's also a few bars from Bailey's rendition of “Part of Your World,” which Variety reports was played in full for the D23 audience.
This post will be updated.
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