Star of Little Mermaid remake revealed
Disney has today announced who will play Ariel in the upcoming live-action remake of the classic film The Little Mermaid.
Singer and actress Halle Bailey, 19, of R&B duo Chloe x Halle, has landed the film's leading role.
Variety reports while the filmmakers met with a huge number of young actresses for the role, Bailey stood out from the start.
"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 said in a statement.
Just Announced: Halle Bailey has been cast in the upcoming live-action reimagining of The Little Mermaid. pic.twitter.com/GAUydbkfMV— Walt Disney Studios (@DisneyStudios) July 3, 2019
Bailey has already expressed her excitement about the project, tweeting "dream come true" from her band's social media account:
The star has been met with support on social media - but some are bracing for the inevitable backlash about casting a black actress to play Ariel, who was previously depicted as a pale redhead in the Disney cartoon:
Halle Bailey from the group ChloeXHalle was cast as Ariel in Disney's Live Action Little Mermaid— Shan (@shanuddin889) July 3, 2019
Black Twitter pic.twitter.com/YHoNVaULmv
Remember what happened the last time Disney disregarded the race of the cartoon characters for a live adaptation? Cause I sure do!— Nicholas D. (@Creat1ve) July 3, 2019
This is how I know Halle Bailey is going to slay the role of Ariel in The Little Mermaid! Excited to see how the rest of cast pans out too! pic.twitter.com/h3IEjbNiL1
Halle Bailey,a black girl with dreads is gonna be playing Ariel in the little mermaid live action... racists are gonna be mad mad pic.twitter.com/qWBUCaqGS9— Zimzalabim (@Versacelili) July 3, 2019
Looking forward to a bunch of grown men segueing from being extremely mad about shoes to being extremely mad about The Little Mermaid— Parker Molloy (@ParkerMolloy) July 3, 2019
Disney has cast Halle Bailey as Ariel for the Little Mermaid live action film and I’m just here to see who will be mad. Bc I know some of you will be and I’m excited pic.twitter.com/K9OiHGkXLf— valerie complex (@ValerieComplex) July 3, 2019
We’re getting a beautiful black mermaid for the Little Mermaid live action movie. Do you understand how much of an impact this will make for little black girls to see a fantasy of themselves on screen? A black mermaid! I could cry! 😭💕 #HalleBailey #LittleMermaid pic.twitter.com/7CMbOOV4G5— Moon Princess 🌙✨ (@RheaMorris_) July 3, 2019
The young star will join previously announced cast members including comedian Akwafina as Scuttle and child actor Jacob Tremblay as Flounder, while it was reported last week Melissa McCarthy was in talks to take on the iconic role of Ursula.
This live-action film will feature songs made popular in the 1989 original as well as new material written by Alan Menken and Lin-Manuel Miranda.
Fans of the original film will have to wait a while to see this new version - filming won't start until next year, and while no release date has been announced, it may not hit cinemas until 2022.
There'll be plenty of live-action Disney remakes to tide fans over until then, though. Next on the list: the hugely anticipated new Lion King movie out later this month, Lady and the Tramp in November and a live-action Mulan expected in March next year.