One of the most anticipated of Disney’s upcoming live-action reworkings of their own animated classics is The Little Mermaid. Following on the success of The Lion King, Aladdin, The Jungle Book and more, the 1989 movie that introduced Ariel, Sebastian the Crab, Flounder the Fish and the villainous Ursula the Sea Witch was always at the top of the list of other movies that Disney could reinvent for new audiences. While word on the movie shoot has been thin on the ground, today saw shots surface onlin, giving our first sight of Halle Bailey as the titular aquatic princess.
Halle Bailey is best known for her role in ABC Family’s Grown-ish, and her casting in the movie makes her the first black actress to play the character. Further announcements revealed Daveed Digs would be voicing Sebastian the Crab, Jacob Tremblay provides vocals for Flounder, and, and this bit pains me a little, Melissa McCarthy in the role of Ursula. Ok it pains me a lot, but it is what it is.
With filming of the movie underway in Italy, it was only a matter of time before someone managed to get a sly shot of the stars in action, and it happened today with two set photos featuring Bailey on an Italian beach with co-star Jonah Hauer-King, who plays Ariel’s love Prince Eric, in what appear to be rehearsals for scenes we would expect they will be filming for real very soon.
The location and images would suggest that the scene they are filming takes place after Ariel saves Eric from a shipwreck. The images show Bailey wearing a CG suit, which means that much of her aquatic form will be created in post-production. Just a few years ago having a character mostly made from CGI would strike fear into us, but with recent leaps in technology the result should be stunning.
That kind of thing, though, will have to wait until we get a trailer sometime in the future. For now, we have to make do with the slightly blurred images we have today. Whether there will be any more little tidbits like this coming in the next few weeks now that shooting is clearly in full swing, we shall have to wait and see, but as with many Disney properties, fans will take anything they can get.
The Little Mermaid is directed by Rob Marshall, who is no stranger to musical features or Disney. He directed the Oscar nominated movie version of Chicago back in 2002, Into The Woods in 2014 and most recently brought Disney’s favorite nanny back to screens with Mary Poppins Returns.
Scripting on the movie is by Jane Goldman, whose range of genres has included the fantastic fantasy of multiple X-Men movies, horror with The Woman in Black, the comic book comedy Kick-Ass, and the most recent adaptation of Daphne Du Maurier’s Rebecca. Songwriter and Disney stalwart Alan Menken is once again returning to add four new songs to his original soundtrack, which included classics such as Under The Sea and Kiss the Girl, as he did for the live action Aladdin and Beauty and The Beast remakes. There is currently no release date for The Little Mermaid, but we would expect it to arrive sometime late in 2022.