"Juice" singer Lizzo is not the only person disappointed in Disney's choice to play the villain Ursula in its live-action remake of The Little Mermaid. The reported casting of Melissa McCarthy on Friday inspired dozens of angry messages from users on social media. Some suggested Queen Latifah, while others suggested drag queens because the character's original design was inspired by the late Divine.
Late Friday, Variety reported that McCarthy was in early talks to play Ursula. She is the first actress linked to the project, since no one has been cast as Ariel, the titular mermaid.
McCarthy has never starred in a musical before, and has stayed away from making family-friendly live-action comedies. Her lack of musical experience made some question the casting, especially since she will likely have to perform the show-stopping "Poor Unfortunate Souls" in the film.
Y’all mean to tell me Ginger Minj, Queen Latifah, Lizzo AND Alex Newell were all unavailable?!? https://t.co/0axxxCwSrp— Phillip Henry (@MajorPhilebrity) June 28, 2019
Rob Marshall, who directed Chicago and Disney's Into The Woods, Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides and Mary Poppins Returns, will direct the film. Life of Pi writer David Magee is writing the script, while Alan Menken will team up with Hamilton creator Lin-Manuel Miranda to craft new songs.
The original songs by Menken and the late Howard Ashman will also be in the new movie.
That’s the list. That’s it. Cast one of them or keep it on the playgroundJune 28, 2019
Back in October, Lizzo first made her pitch to Disney to get the part, posting a video of herself in complete Ursula wear and belting out "Poor Unfortunate Souls." When she heard McCarthy got the gig, she retweeted a link and added a sad emoji.
Another Twitter user suggested Queen Latifah, who famously posed as Ursula for photos taken by Annie Leibovitz for Disney.
I wanted Queen Latifah to play Ursula! Check out these photos she did so Disney would hire her. I think she looks amazing! 😍 pic.twitter.com/cwPwXIEUkI— 𝙏𝙝𝙚 𝘾𝙞𝙣𝙚𝙢𝙖 𝙌𝙪𝙚𝙚𝙣 (@KaleaTCQ) June 29, 2019
Others called for drag queens to play the part, a move that would be bold for Disney. The original design for the character was based on Harris Glenn Milstead, better known as Divine, who died the year before The Little Mermaid opened. Divine was best known for his work in John Waters' independent movies.
I love Melissa McCarthy but @TheGingerMinj really should be cast as Ursula in the live action remake of The Little Mermaid.
Ursula was based off a drag queen so it’s only right a drag queen is cast, and Ginger is perfect for the role. pic.twitter.com/0YhpQFAtdn— Sarah 🦁 (@beautiflgarbage) June 29, 2019
the character of Ursula the sea witch was inspired by Divine, an iconic drag queen who rose to fame in the 1970s.
Melissa McCarthy should NOT be playing Ursula. pic.twitter.com/uAW0pjbVyO— just say they (@indiosyncratic) June 29, 2019
The 1989 Little Mermaid was based on Hans Christian Andersen's story of a mermaid who fell in love with a human prince. In the film, the mermaid Ariel makes a deal with Ursula to trade her voice for a pair of legs. Ursula then uses Ariel's voice to steal the prince for herself.
McCarthy was nominated for a second Oscar earlier this year for Can You Ever Forgive Me?. Her next film is the action comedy The Kitchen with Tiffany Haddish and Elisabeth Moss. It opens on Aug. 9. She also stars in her husband Ben Falcone's Superintelligence, which opens on Dec. 20.
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