After pressing pause on production for the film as the coronavirus pandemic first began to spread, Walt Disney Studios are getting ready to return to one of their high-profile projects with a major casting addition. The DisInsider brings word that the studio has reportedly held a number of Zoom meetings with Grammy Award winner Kacey Musgraves for a part in their live-action The Little Mermaid film. According to the outlet, she has been circling the part of Vanessa, the human form taken by Ursula as she takes to the surface to continue to throw a wrench in Ariel's plans. She would star alongside Melissa McCarthy as the proper version of the sea witch.
DisInsider does stress that they've gotten no confirmation on that Musgraves has accepted the role so there's a possibility she's passed at this point. Production on the film is reportedly scheduled to begin this summer at Pinewood Studios in London after it was halted by the coronavirus. Film crews and productions in the UK are beginning to return to sets with the likes of Jurassic World: Dominion already filming once again.
The Little Mermaid will star Halle Bailey as Ariel in the live-action take. Other cast members for the film include Jacob Tremblay as Flounder, Daveed Diggs as Sebastian with Awkwafina as the seagull Scuttle, Jonah Hauer-King as Prince Eric, and Javier Bardem as Ariel's father King Triton. Rob Marshall of Chicago, Mary Poppins Returns, and Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides fame will direct the film.
After the casting of Bailey as Ariel was confirmed by the studio, many fans rightfully lost their minds over the change to the original animated film while others criticized it. Bailey herself hasn't shied away from discussing the negativity from some sects of fandom but has committed to delivering a good performance. She previously spoke with Teen Vogue about the experience and sounded at peace with the situation.
"I feel like I'm dreaming, and I'm just grateful," Bailey previously told Variety. "And I don't pay attention to the negativity. I just feel like this role is something bigger than me, and greater, and it's going to be beautiful. I'm just so excited to be a part of it."
The Little Mermaid is scheduled to be released on November 19, 2021, it's unclear if there will be a delay in its release following the stoppage in production.
(Cover Photo by Jon Kopaloff/Getty Images)