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Disney Has Found Its Ariel for the Live-Action Little Mermaid

Ariel as she appeared in Disney’s 1989 animated classic.
Ariel as she appeared in Disney’s 1989 animated classic.
Image: Disney

Disney’s live-action Little Mermaid remake has finally found its star. Actress Halle Bailey, best known for her role on the sitcom Grown-ish, has been cast as Ariel in the movie, which is expected to begin filming early in 2020.


“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 press release. The film “will feature beloved songs from the animated classic by Alan Menken and Howard Ashman, as well as new songs by Menken (music) and Lin-Manuel Miranda (lyrics).”

Halle Bailey is playing Ariel in The Little Mermaid.
Halle Bailey is playing Ariel in The Little Mermaid.
Photo: Disney

If you’re wondering if Bailey can sing, uh, here’s her on a track for the A Wrinkle in Time soundtrack. The answer is yes, she can.

All of that is straight from the Mouse itself. Official. Confirmed. However, the press release doesn’t mention the other castings that have been reported this week. It only says “Additional announcements regarding The Little Mermaid are expected in the coming weeks.” But, odds are those announcements are going to be that Melissa McCarthy is Ursula, while Jacob Tremblay is voicing Flounder, and Awkwafina is voicing Scuttle. All of those negotiations are still in early talks, but likely to be final soon—and there are still plenty of roles left to fill going forward.

Bailey tweeted this soon after news broke:


If production is starting next year, The Little Mermaid may not be in theaters until 2022, but that’s just speculation. A release date, and more casting, is sure to be coming soon.

This article was updated to put in the tweet.

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Entertainment Reporter for io9/Gizmodo

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In before racists start harassing her over the internet and making poor arguments about how Ariel has to be white.