N360 Ambassadors [coming soon]
A password will be e-mailed to you.

While other people are wishing they were part of a different world, Halle Bailey is living her best life right now. Disney just cast the 19-year-old singer and actress as Ariel in their upcoming live-action remake of “The Little Mermaid“. It’s clear that Halle Bailey is excited about the opportunity of getting to play Disney Princess. She even posted an image of the beloved character edited to match her features on Twitter. “dream come true… 🧜🏽‍♀️🌊” she captioned her post. Disney animators originally drew Ariel as a Caucasian mermaid with distinct red hair while actress Jodi Benson provided her original voice. Bailey, on the other hand, is African-American, and the differences between the two sparked a heated debate on social media. So much so that it led to a new Twitter hashtag that trended recently, #NotMyAriel. Critics complained that the actress cast as the little mermaid should have been a red-haired Caucasian, faithful to the original animated version. 

Other people, however, were quick to defend Bailey and Disney’s casting choice. Award-winning Actress Halle Berry congratulated the young actress on her new role. Many mistakenly thought that the 52-year-old got the role due to the similarities in their names. Meanwhile, some noted that the 1989 animated film’s creators actually set the story in the Carribean. different from Hans Christian Anderson’s original Danish fairytale. Hence, the change of race in the character is both plausible and fitting. While others highlighted the fact that mermaids aren’t real in the first place. If they are, they’re technically fish, hence, they’re not beholden to be a specific race. 

But this isn’t the only casting choice that this upcoming film has gotten flack for. Days earlier, several news outlets reported that Disney shortlisted Melissa McCarthy to play Ursula, the villain in the film. Similarly, many people took to Twitter to vent out their frustrations. They complained that there was a lot of highly-qualified performers that are better fitted as the evil sea-witch. And since the character was based on legendary drag queen performer Divine, they demanded that a drag queen or a queer person take on the role instead. With regards to other characters in the film, “Crazy Rich Asians” and “Ocean’s 8” star Awkwafina is in talks to play Scuttle. Simultaneously, Disney is also considering “Room” actor Jacob Tremblay to play Flounder, Ariel’s guppy best friend. As for Sebastian, Prince Eric, King Triton, and more, no names have come up for them yet. Though since Lin-Manuel Miranda is part of creating new music for this live-action remake, it’s possible he’ll play one of them. The Broadway star-turned-movie-actor is currently collaborating with Alan Menken, one of the original composers for the 1989 classic, for the project.

The live-action remake of Disney’s “The Little Mermaid” will reportedly start production on April 2020. While they still have no release date, it’s expected to premiere around 2022 or 2023. Possibly even later! What do you think of these new casting choices? Share your opinions below! Image Credits:

  1. Halle Bailey Featured Image – Breathe The Heavy.com
  2. Singer Halle Bailey – Adventures in Poor Taste.com
  3. Lin-Manuel Miranda and Alan Menken – Lin-Manuel Miranda’s Twitter account
  4. Disney’s The Little Mermaid – Geek Tyrant.com