Beyoncé provides the voice of Nala in the upcoming “live-action” ‘The Lion King’, and now one of her protégées, Halle Bailey will join her in the live-action Disney Universe as Ariel in ‘The Little Mermaid’. Rob Marshall (‘Mary Poppins Returns’, ‘Into the Woods’) is directing. Alan Menken, who won Academy Awards for Best Score and Best Original Song (for “Under the Sea”) for the original 1989 animated version, is back for the remake and is working with Lin-Manuel Miranda, who will write new lyrics to Menken’s music.
In a statement, Marshall declared:
“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.”
It was previously buzzed that Jane Levy (‘What/If’) and Zendaya (‘Spider-Man: Far From Home’) were the frontrunners to play Ariel, while rumors had it that One Direction’s Harry Styles and Noah Centineo (‘Masters of the Universe’) were in the running to portray Prince Eric.
It was recently revealed that Melissa McCarthy was in talks to play the film’s version of Ursula, but R&B/hip hop artist Lizzo has thrown her name out for consideration, by releasing a video of herself singing “Poor Unfortunate Souls” in full purple makeup and a white wig.
Jacob Tremblay has been cast to voice Flounder and Awkwafina will voice Scuttle.
Along with sister Chloe, Halle is part of the duo Chloe X Halle. Chloe X Halle got their start singing cover songs on Youtube. After appearing in Beyoncé’s ‘Lemonade’ visual album, the pair opened for her on the European portion of her Formation World Tour. They also returned to open for Beyoncé and Jay-Z’s On the Run II Tour. Chloe X Halle sings the theme song for the Freeform series ‘grown-ish’ and also co-star as the twin track stars Jazlyn Forster (Chloe) and Skylar Forster (Halle). (Chloe and Halle are not twins in real life.) Freeform is owned by Disney. Speaking of Disney, the duo also contributed the song “Warrior” to the soundtrack for ‘A Wrinkle in Time’.
It has not been announced when ‘The Little Mermaid’ will begin filming or be released, but with the lead role filled, expect production to begin soon. In the meantime, check back for more casting news as it surfaces.