The reactions are swimming in following the casting of Chloe x Halle member Halle Bailey as Ariel in Disney’s live-action adaptation of The Little Mermaid. The casting news was first reported by Variety on Wednesday, the outlet stating that Bailey had been a “clear front runner from the beginning” of casting months ago.
“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,” director Rob Marshall confirmed the casting in a statement, The Hollywood Reporter writes.
As many pointed out, Bailey certainly has the chops for the role. Along with exercising her acting skills as Sky Foster on Grown-ish, she is an R&B singer best known for her work with her sister in the group Chloe x Halle.
Yasss. Most interesting casting decision I’ve seen in years! Great decision. She's got an amazing set of pipes on her! And she can act!!!— NELLI NELLS (@NotoriousNelli) July 3, 2019
Many are also praising the adaptation for its diversity and supporting its casting of an actress of color for the lead role.
Prior to her casting, it had been rumored that Disney alum Zendaya, who currently stars in HBO’s Euphoria, would be putting on the flippers for the role.
I really thought Ariel would be played by Zendaya (maybe because of the rumours), but Halle Bailey is a great choice! I love her in Grown-ish and she is a great singer! #LittleMermaid https://t.co/11q9h3vls5— dani. (@miasthermopolis) July 3, 2019
Bailey joins a cast that already includes Crazy Rich Asians and Ocean’s Eight actress Awkwafina, who will star as Scuttle the seagull, and Room actor Jacob Tremblay, who will play Ariel’s BFF Flounder.
It has also been reported that This Is Us actress Melissa McCarthy is being eyed to take on the role of Urusla, a role that would mark her first musical, though the reports have proven to be controversial, with many calling for "Juice" singer Lizzo to portray the villain.
Disney's live-action Little Mermaid will be directed by Marshall, an Oscar-nominee for directing 2002's Chicago. He also helmed Into the Woods, Mary Poppins Returns and Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides for Disney. Hamilton creator Lin-Manuel Miranda, who starred in Mary Poppins Returns, will co-write new songs with composer Alan Menken, who wrote the 1989 animated film's songs with the late lyricist Howard Ashman. Miranda is also co-producing alongside Marshall, Marc Platt and John DeLuca. Jessica Virtue and Allison Erlikham will oversee the production for Disney.0comments
Oscar nominee David Magee wrote the script.
Production on the live-action remake is expected to begin in 2020.