We're swimming in a sea of Disney live-action remakes, and the next movie on the docket is The Little Mermaid. The movie won't be released until Memorial Day 2023, but Halle Bailey (Ariel) promises it will be worth the wait. The live-action remake is expected to feature new music by Disney Legend Alan Menken (The Little Mermaid, Beauty and the Beast) and Lin-Manuel Miranda (Hamilton, Disney's Encanto), and according to Disney's For Scores podcast (via Variety), that will amount to four new songs.
Menken recently appeared on For Scores and shared some history about his time working on the animated The Little Mermaid with lyricist Howard Ashman, who passed away in 1991. Menken also spoke about his collaboration with Miranda on the remake. "At first, Lin-Manuel Miranda was struggling to do Alan Menken-style songs, and he felt like, walking in Howard Ashman's shoes was a daunting prospect. Then we wrote some songs that were in Lin's wheelhouse and for me, walking in Lin-Manuel Miranda's shoes was a daunting prospect, but we had a blast."
"Howard had very strong feelings about making sure that we were always driving story forward, and always stylistically rooted in a world," Menken explained. "Howard would really educate the animators, and sit and talk to them about how songs should drive a story." He added of Miranda, "I would hear about Lin-Manuel Miranda when he was a little kid because my niece went to the Hunter school and she was a classmate of Lin's ... I would hear about [him] from my sister Faye, who would say, 'This boy Lin, he loves 'Little Mermaid' so much. Could you sign this poster? I remember signing a poster to Lin that said, 'To Lin, please stop kissing Jenny's feet. Alan Menken.'"
While the interview doesn't go into detail on what to expect from the new songs, fans are also hoping to hear some classics like "Part Of Your World," "Under the Sea," and "Kiss the Girl."
The Little Mermaid is following in the footsteps of Aladdin and The Lion King, which recently had live-action remakes, as well as the new takes on Mulan and Cruella. In addition to Bailey, the upcoming movie's star-studded cast includes Javier Bardem (No Country for Old Men) as King Triton, Daveed Diggs (Hamilton) as Sebastian, Jacob Tremblay (Disney-Pixar's Luca) as Flounder, Awkwafina (Marvel's Shang-Chi) as the voice of Scuttle, Jonah Hauer-King (TV's Little Women) as Prince Eric, and Melissa McCarthy (Bridesmaids) as the villainous sea witch Ursula.
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The Little Mermaid swims into theaters on May 26, 2023.