Walt Disney Pictures has announced that 19-year-old Grown-ish actress Halle Bailey of the R&B group Chloe x Halle will play the lead role of Ariel in Disney’s Little Mermaid live-action movie adaptation!
“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,” said director Rob Marshall in a statement.
Jacob Tremblay will play Flounder, Ariel’s best friend who is a fish, while Awkwafina will play Scuttle, the seagull friend of the princess. Melissa McCarthy is currently in talks to play the role of the vile Ursula.
Mary Poppins Returns director Rob Marshall will helm the film which features a script by David Magee (Life of Pi, Mary Poppins Returns). No stranger to musicals, or working for Disney, Marshall was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Director for his feature film debut, Chicago. Since then, he’s helmed the likes of Memoirs of a Geisha and Nine. Marshall has also made his last three films at Disney, including Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides, Into the Woods, and the Poppins sequel.
For their new version of The Little Mermaid, Disney is pairing Lin-Manuel Miranda and Alan Menken to create a blend of old and new songs that will be featured in the upcoming big screen version. Miranda and Marshall also worked together on Mary Poppins Returns.
Disney’s animated The Little Mermaid made over $211 million at the box office and became a bestseller on home video, popularizing songs like “Under The Sea” and “Part of Your World.” Based on Hans Christian Andersen’s Danish fairy tale, it tells the story of a 16-year-old mermaid princess named Ariel who longs to be human.