It’s coming together slowly, but the list of live-action Disney princesses is getting considerably bigger as the studio continues to make more and more remakes of their classic animated hits. So far, it’s a roster that includes Elle Fanning’s Aurora from MALEFICENT, Lily James’ Cinderella, Emma Watson’s Belle from BEAUTY AND THE BEAST, and Naomi Scott’s Jasmine from ALADDIN, but new titles are getting further into development every day.
A perfect example of this is the fact that a re-imagining of THE LITTLE MERMAID is now aiming to start production early next year, and the project has hired Halle Bailey to play the iconic lead role, Princess Ariel.
Walt Disney Studios made the casting announcement official, while rumors continue to swirl around other big names that are interested in potentially signing on to be a part of the movie. For example, there have been talks about Melissa McCarthy playing the evil sea witch Ursula, while Awkwafina and Jacob Tremblay have been suggested for the roles of Scuttle the seagull and Flounder, Ariel’s best friend.
Halle Bailey has been in show business for the majority of her life, having made her feature film debut at the age of 6 in the Queen Latifah comedy LAST HOLIDAY. Since then, she has primarily made a name for herself via the music industry, pairing with her sister as the R&B duo Chloe X Halle, but she has also been keeping her acting skills fresh. Along with her sister, she has a supporting role on the Freeform television series “Grown-ish,” a spinoff of the hit ABC show “Black-ish.”
THE LITTLE MERMAID will be only the second big screen movie of Halle Bailey’s career so far.
Of course, Disney going with an actress with a particularly strong singing background makes a lot of sense — and not just because Ariel having a melodic voice increases the stakes when Ursula tries to steal it away from her. This is a modern Disney movie with one of the most iconic soundtracks in the history of Walt Disney Animation (courtesy of Alan Menken), and there are going to be major expectations for her rendition of “Part of Your World.”
Based on the animated film from 1989, THE LITTLE MERMAID will tell the classic tale of Ariel as she struggles to contain her curiosity about life on land. Despite warnings from her father, King Triton, and her friends, she decides to make a big leap and orchestrate a trade with the sea witch Ursula, who forces the young princess to give up her voice in exchange for a pair of legs. The catch is that if Ariel doesn’t receive true love’s kiss within three days, she will not only transform back into a mermaid, but also belong to Ursula forever.
Rob Marshall, who recently worked with Disney in the making of MARY POPPINS RETURNS, is directing the new LITTLE MERMAID, and Lin-Manuel Miranda is both producing and writing lyrics for the new songs that will be featured. Production is aiming to start in early 2020, though a release date has not yet been announced.
Check back on the AMC Scene often for updates!