Halle Bailey is officially part of your world. The first footage of the highly anticipated Little Mermaid live-action remake has been unveiled at Disney’s D23 Expo, revealing the acclaimed R&B star and actor in the iconic role of mermaid princess Ariel.
Director Rob Marshall, of Chicago, celebrated the live action musical, “When we started this journey it was very important to honor the original” but also reimagine and “bring some depth” to the new film. The director also asked Little Mermaid longtime Disney alum and Alan Menken to link up with the award-winning Lin-Manuel Miranda to come up with four new songs. “They’d never collaborated together before, and it’s magical…. We still retain the beauty of the original score by the late great Howard Ashman.”
As for the new mermaid, Bailey “came in and claimed the role,” Marshall said. Shortly after the intro, Marshall debuted the first-ever footage from The Little Mermaid showcasing Bailey singing the iconic Part of Your World song (for the D23 crowd only), winning praises from the crowd.
The actress then joined the fans to massive applause and shared details from the shoot. It took three days to film Part of Your World as Halle explained her connection to Ariel since childhood, “Swimming in the pool, imagining I was a mermaid, I never thought I could see that come to life.”
As for the physical and visual differences between the animated movie and the live action, Bailey’s fins are longer than the cartoon version, plus she’s ditched the conical shell bra underwater and she’s sporting beautiful dreadlocks.
Adapted from the 1989 film from John Musker and Ron Clements, which was based on the Hans Christian Andersen 19th century fairy tale, The Little Mermaid tells the story of Ariel, the youngest daughter of King Triton (Javier Bardem), the ruler of the underwater kingdom Atalantica. Ariel, already fascinated by the world of humans, falls deeply in love with the handsome Prince Eric (Jonah Hauer-King) after saving him during a shipwreck, and resolves to meet him in the world above water. Her quest brings her in conflict with her father and in the clutches of the scheming sea witch Ursula (Melissa McCarthy). The cast also features Jacob Tremblay, Awkwafina and Daveed Diggs as the voices of classic Disney sidekicks Flounder, Scuttle and Sebastian.
The live-action Little Mermaid is directed by Marshall, who previously helmed 2018’s musical family film “Mary Poppins Returns” for Disney, as well as movie musicals like “Chicago” and “Into the Woods.” The script was written by Jane Goldman and David Magee. Miranda and Marshall produce with John DeLuca and Marc Platt.