In amazing casting news, Disney has selected young actress and singer Halle Bailey (not Halle Berry!) to play Ariel in the upcoming live-action The Little Mermaid. I’m so here for this, you don’t even know!
Recently, it was revealed actress Melissa McCarthy was in talks to play the iconic sea witch, Ursula. While I had certain opinions about that news, I’m nothing but happy for Halle Bailey getting a likely career-changing role. Mena Massoud, even though problematic, worked well in the live-action Aladdin. It might turn out great for Bailey, too.
While Zendaya was a fan-favorite for the role, her career is going exceptionally well. So, I’m okay with Bailey getting such an opportunity to shine on the big screen.
Also, Zendaya is all for it, too!
“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.
The upcoming live-action adaptation of the underwater Disney classic will incorporate the original songs as well as new tunes from composer Alan Menken and Hamilton creator Lin-Manuel Miranda. Miranda is also producing the film along with Marshall, Marc Platt, and John DeLuca.
David Magee wrote the script with Jane Goldman writing a previous draft.
Take some time out to experience Bailey’s voice. She is part of a music group (with her sister) called Chloe x Halle.
Of course, there are people online who aren’t happy about her being cast. For them, Ariel should remain a white redhead. Well, I won’t be paying those people any attention.
The reason a majority of Disney Princesses were created as white fictional characters had nothing to with classic stories being retold (and extensively reworked) by the studio. It was more about a white Princess being the norm in the market. The same goes for why a whole lot of comic book characters out there were created as white people.
Times are changing, and considering the Caribbean influences in the animated film, it makes sense for Ariel to be colored.
As for those who don’t like the casting because it will confuse children consuming Disney content, well, children aren’t born with racial prejudices.
If casting Jason Momoa as Aquaman and Will Smith as Deadshot didn’t burn DC Comics to the ground because younglings couldn’t make sense of it all, I’m sure Bailey as a colored Ariel won’t harm their young minds and the House of Mouse.
So, perhaps take some time to address your racial prejudices instead of involving kids in the conversation to justify your close-mindedness?
Feel free to share your thoughts with us.
Farid has a Double Masters in Psychology and Biotechnology as well as an M.Phil in Molecular Genetics. He is the author of numerous books including Missing in Somerville, and The Game Master of Somerville. He gives us insight into comics, books, TV shows, anime/manga, video games, and movies.
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