Add a new actress to your watch list, because Halle Bailey (not to be confused with the infamous Halle Berry) is going places. Disney recently announced in a press release that Halle would be playing (and singing) the role of Ariel in the live-action remake of Disney’s The Little Mermaid. Suddenly, I want to be a part of that world! I’ll keep my voice though, thank you.
Unless you have been living under a rock, you know that Disney is on a live-action remake kick for all of its classic movies. Some movies that have already taken the plunge from animated to live action are Dumbo, Cinderella, and recently Aladdin. There are many more Disney movies that have been in discussion to make it to the big screen once again. Some of the release live-action movies have received mixed reviews. But with the announcement of Halle Bailey as The Little Mermaid, reactions have been overwhelmingly enthusiastic and positive.
Representation in Disney Princesses Has Arrived
Before the premiere of The Princess and the Frog, there weren’t any black princesses for other young black girls to look up to. In 2009, that all changed with the introduction of Tiana, a hard-working woman who looked forward to owning her own restaurant one day. She was beautiful, she was intelligent, and she was an inspiration to black little girls everywhere. Overall, The Princess and the Frog brought in over 207 million in the box office, showing that it appealed to audiences of all races.
Casting Ariel as a black woman was a shocking and unexpected choice, but a seemingly well-received one. Even Zendaya (MJ in Spiderman: Far From Home) could not contain how overjoyed she was.
While people were clearly enthusiastic for another black Disney Princess, some questioned if Halle Bailey could even compete with the original speaking and singing voice of Ariel, Jodi Benson.
Halle Bailey In Comparison With the Original Ariel
In the 1989 animated version of The Little Mermaid, Jodi Benson was the voice behind Ariel. “Part Of Your World” was heard and sung repeatedly in many households, potentially more than Elsa singing “Let It Go”
Back then, Jodi’s audition consisted of listening to a recorded demo of “Part of Your World” on a cassette tape. ” I went to the audition, went to the ladies room, and tried out a few ways of how it might sound.” Jodi said “It was quite a while before I got a call saying you’re still in the running. And then I think it was almost a year until I got the call that I actually got the job.”
Now recognized as a true Disney Legend, Jodi still can’t believe it and is humbled by the experience, “It’s a huge honor and I’m incredibly proud to be an inducted member as a Legend. It solidified my relationship with the company, as far as it feeling like a family atmosphere.”
While Halle Bailey has some big shoes to fill, Rob Marshall, Director of the live action film, is singing her praises. He seems excited to have her cast and seems to really believe in her acting and singing abilities
In a Disney press release, Director Rob Marshall announced Halle Bailey’s casting 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,”
Can Halle Bailey Sing?
In any heavy musical role, that’s always a question. The overall concern being if Ariel’s singing voice will be reduced to autotune. Can Halle Bailey carry her own tune? That answer is an overwhelming yes. She’s in an R&B duo known as Chole x Halle. You’ve got to check out her smooth and gorgeous singing voice. You will absolutely be able to envision Ariel’s voice singing “Part of Your World” after you listen to this.
Trust me on this, you won’t regret it. Click play.
If you’re watching this music video and thinking to yourself, “hey, she looks familiar?” you’re definitely on to something. Halle Bailey isn’t new to the acting scene. She has had supporting roles in the movie A Wrinkle in Time as well as the Freeform TV series Grown-ish. I imagine that with her talents The Little Mermaid won’t be the last we hear of Halle
Controversial Casting: Is There A Middle Ground?
Recently, the casting of The Little Mermaid was under fire after some news outlets leaked that Melissa McCarthy was in talks to play Ursula. A lot of fans did not feel like this was the right choice for Ursula, who was originally modeled and inspired by actor and drag queen Divine. Numerous suggestions were made over social media for a better casting of Ursula. Those suggestions included Lizzo, Titus Burgess, and Latrice Royal.
Lin-Manuel Miranda Lends His Expertise To Live Action ‘The Little Mermaid’
Despite the naysayers, this film seems to be shaping up pretty well. Lin-Manuel Miranda will team up with the original songwriter Alan Menken to create music for the movie. Lin-Manuel is a hot commodity right now. He has produced and stared in big theater productions such as In The Heights and Hamilton. He also wrote the song “How Far I’ll Go” for Disney’s Moana, so the fact that he is signed on to The Little Mermaid is enough for you to buy your movie tickets, like, yesterday.
There will be a wait to seeing The Little Mermaid in theaters, so I wouldn’t head to Fandango just yet. It does seem like this will be something that will take place after the year 2020. But hey, we have plenty of live-action Disney movies to tide us over in the meantime.
Congrats are in order to Halle Bailey, I can tell already that you are going to kill it in this role.
What do you think about the casting of Halle Bailey as Ariel in the live-action The Little Mermaid? Do you think this was the best choice for the character? Are you looking forward to this live-action remake? Tell us your thoughts on this Disney movie in the comments section below.