Halle Bailey, the second black Disney princess in history and the actress portraying Ariel in the upcoming “The Little Mermaid” movie, expressed her emotional response to videos of black children and parents celebrating her groundbreaking role. One particular video shared by her mother deeply touched her; it showed her grandparents watching the movie trailer, and her grandfather was moved to tears after repeatedly watching it.
Bailey, moved by her grandparents’ emotional reaction, stated that such special moments reinforced her belief that she was in the right place. She acknowledged the hardships her family had endured, with her grandmother remembering the sight of her own relatives toiling in cotton fields. Bailey’s casting as Ariel brought both celebration and challenges, as she faced racist backlash on social media. However, she chose to focus on the positive aspects, including reading “The Little Mermaid: Make a Splash” to children at the White House and cherishing the heartwarming videos of her young fans.
The new film, directed by Rob Marshall, is based on the 1989 animated movie and the fairytale by Hans Christian Andersen. It follows Ariel, a mermaid who makes a deal with the sea witch Ursula, sacrificing her voice to become human and reunite with Prince Eric after rescuing him. The cast includes Jonah Hauer-King as Eric, Melissa McCarthy as Ursula, and Javier Bardem as King Triton. Notable voice actors include Daveed Diggs as Sebastian, Awkwafina as Scuttle, and Jacob Tremblay as Flounder.
Encouraged by her loved ones, Bailey fully embraced her role, even taking mermaid lessons to prepare for it. She worked with synchronized swimming coaches who visited her every Sunday, teaching her how to swim like a mermaid. Melissa McCarthy, an experienced actress, expressed her enthusiasm for playing Ursula, a character she had admired since she first saw the original animated film in a theater at the age of 20. McCarthy appreciated the opportunity to delve into Ursula’s fears and loneliness, developing a three-dimensional understanding of the character and genuinely falling for her.
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