On the eve of 4th of July, Disney dropped a major announcement this morning. Halle Bailey is set to play Ariel in the upcoming live-action The Little Mermaid movie. The film will be directed by Rob Marshall, who released the following statement with the announcement:
“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,” says Marshall.
The film is slated to head into production in early 2020. Expect more announcements to follow.
This is a huge announcement. It’s also important to note that an African-American woman will play the role of Ariel. That’s huge news. The Ariel character has been portrayed as Caucasian prior to this. Credit to Disney for being open-minded and going with the most suitable person for the role, no matter race or ethnicity.
Bailey is very much a newcomer. Her first role was in Last Holiday, but she’s mostly known for her role as Sky Forester in the television series, “Grown-ish”.
So she doesn’t have many credits, (Imdb only lists 7 credits), so she’s relatively inexperienced for a lead role in a major Disney production. That could serve her well though. Since she isn’t a household name yet, there will be no expectation for Bailey. She can make this her breakout role and showcase all her talents.
This is definitely an interesting out-of-the-box casting. It’s exciting due to the unknown factor. I’m sure Disney will fill out the rest of the cast with a lot more prominent actors to surround Bailey with. I have trust in Disney and their casting process. They hired a relatively unknown Mena Massoud to play Aladdin. That worked out pretty well for them.
The Little Mermaid is definitely happening and now we officially have an Ariel.
(Photo by Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images for Disney)