Disney has found its Ariel for the live-action remake of The Little Mermaid: Halle Bailey. Bailey is an R&B singer best known for her work with her sister, in their group known as Chloe x Halle. According to a report by Variety, Bailey has been the front runner for the film since casting started.
Disney's live-action Little Mermaid comes from director Rob Marshall. He has reportedly been meeting with lots of actresses in his pursuit of the right one for Ariel, in a search that lasted months. Now, he has settled on Bailey, bringing the movie that much closer to reality.
Bailey joins an all-star cast, including comedian Awkwafina and actor Jacob Tremblay. Melissa McCarthy is reportedly in talks to play Ursula, as an equally stacked behind-the-scenes team works on the script and score.
The movie will reportedly feature many songs from the original 1989 animated version of The Little Mermaid. However, it will have new songs as well, written by original composer Alan Menken. Menken is reportedly working on the soundtrack with Lin-Manuel Miranda, the musician lauded for Hamilton on Broadway and the soundtrack to Moana as well.
Miranda is a producer on the film, along with Marc Platt, John DeLuca and director Rob Marshall. The script was originally written by Jane Goldman, but the latest draft was written by David Magee. On the studio end, Jessica Virtue and Allison Erlikhman are representing Disney.
So far, Bailey may be the least well-known name in the cast, as least in terms of screen credits. This movie will not technically be her big screen debut, as she had a small role in Last Holiday back in 2006. More recently, she and her sister have had songs on movie soundtracks, including one for A Wrinkle in Time last year. Other than that, Bailey has appeared on the Disney Channel series Austin and Ally, the ABC series Grown-ish and two music videos.
Bailey and her sister were discovered through YouTube, where they started out by uploading covers of Beyoncé songs. Ultimately, Beyoncé herself took a liking to them and signed them to her record label. That led them to be the opening act on her Lemonade Tour in 2016.
Now at 19 years old, Bailey she will take on one of the biggest movie roles in coming years. Disney's live-action remakes of its animated classics have become a massive industry, and The Little Mermaid is one of the most hotly anticipated entries of all. At this time there is no release date in place for the film.