Halle Bailey Cast as Ariel in Live-Action ‘The Little Mermaid’

Mermaid off the port bow!

Halle Bailey (above, left), one 19-year-old half of R&B duo Chloe X Halle, will find out exactly what it’s like to be where the people are in Disney’s upcoming live-action remake of The Little Mermaid. The band’s official Twitter celebrated the announcement shortly after it was made:

(As a quick aide, I don’t recommend reading the replies to that Twitter chain. The racist authorities on mermaids are out in full force, as are the fake accounts catfishing for gotcha moments, and everything else wrong with Twitter.)

Bailey’s Ariel is the first official casting announcement for the film, which is set to begin production early next year. Comedian Melissa McCarthy is reportedly in talks to fill the shoes tentacles of evil sea-witch Ursula, with no word on who might portray Human Ursula, or as I like to call her, The Coward’s Ursula. Directorial duties will be covered by Rob Marshall, who recently directed Mary Poppins Returns, but is perhaps best known for directing 2002’s musical crime drama Chicago.

The new film’s score is being co-written by Alan Menken, who composed the original movie’s Oscar-winning tunes, and Lin-Manuel Miranda, who has written all known music released in the last four years. Miranda also has a Producer credit on the forthcoming adaptation.

Bailey got her start singing covers on YouTube with her sister Chloe, the other half of Chloe X Halle. The two sisters were eventually picked up by Beyonce’s record label Parkwood Entertainment, after which they served as the opening act of Beyonce’s Formation World Tour and On the Run II Tour in 2016 and 2018, respectively. The Little Mermaid is Bailey’s first major acting role, but it’s clear from this Jimmy Kimmel clip that she’s got the pipes, mermaid hair, and cartoon-perfect smile needed to play the daughter of King Triton:

With The Little Mermaid still in pre-production, it’ll be months before we start getting costumed cast photos or anything exciting like that, so we’ll just have to use our imaginations for now. Take Flounder, for instance — will this new film go full live-action Aladdin and put an upsettingly realistic human face on a CGI fish’s body? What level of photo-realistic crab can we expect from Sebastian? Are we talkin’ like a full-on Detective Pikachu situation here, or something a little more Tamatoa from Moana? Will McCarthy’s upper torso get to join the party, or just her performance-captured face? And what of Ariel’s many sisters, does Chloe get a part too? Who’s gonna take on the challenge of playing Scuttle now that Buddy Hacket has left this mortal coil?

I have so many questions, most of which have potentially horrifying answers, but we’ll just have to wait and see how things shake out. I’ll update this post if Bailey gets back to me regarding her prior experience with thingamabobs.


Jordan Mallory

Jordan is a frog that lives in Texas and loves Girls Generation. He's also the Fanbyte Podcast Producer! Before that he wrote video game news for almost ten years at a lot of websites you've heard of, including this one.

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