Casting on the live-action The Little Mermaid continues to heat up, as Disney has found its leading lady. While Spider-Man: Far from Home actress Zendaya has long been rumored for the role, THR reports that singer Halle Bailey has been selected as Ariel for the live-action remake. Bailey is best known as one half of the singing duo known as Chloe x Halle, and this will be the 19-year-old’s first major acting role having previously played a supporting part on the Freeform series Grown-ish.
Disney has been mulling a live-action Little Mermaid remake for some time now, and self-professed Little Mermaid superfan Lin-Manuel Miranda is onboard to produce and help spearhead the music alongside veteran Disney songwriter Alan Menken. In the director’s chair is Chicago and Into the Woods filmmaker Rob Marshall, who is becoming something of a Disney go-to having helmed Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides and most recently Mary Poppins Returns.
“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 Marshall in a statement.
In addition to Bailey, Disney is also in talks with Melissa McCarthy to play the villainous Ursula, Jacob Tremblay to play Flounder, and Awkwafina to voice Scuttle. The film is expected to be a hybrid of live-action and CG, unlike the upcoming The Lion King remake, which is fully animated. Miranda has long been expected to fill the role of Sebastian, but we’ve yet to receive confirmation on that front just yet.
This is a huge role for Bailey, and it’ll be interesting to see who Disney turns to to play love interest Eric, for whom Ariel gives up her voice. I’m also curious to see how Marshall intends to pull off the underwater singing sequences, though I imagine seeing James Wan’s CG-filled take on Aquaman answered a number of questions Disney had about bringing the underwater world to life.
The film will feature the iconic songs from the 1989 original animated film, as well as new songs written by Menken (music) and Miranda (lyrics). Filming on The Little Mermaid is expected to begin in early 2020.
Stay tuned for more as it appears The Little Mermaid is really heating up as one of the next live-action Disney remakes. Next on the docket is The Lion King hitting theaters this summer, followed by Lady and the Tramp later this year on Disney+ and Mulan in theaters next year.
For a full list of Disney’s upcoming live-action remakes, click here.