Disney has officially found its next live-action princess. According to a new report from Variety, Halle Bailey has been cast as Ariel in the upcoming live-action adaptation of The Little Mermaid.
The report claims that Bailey was seen as the "clear front runner" from the beginning of the casting process, although director Rob Marshall has reportedly spent the past few months meeting with potential talent.
Bailey is known for her work in the music group Chloe x Halle, which she started with her sister in 2015. The pair got their start posting covers on YouTube, before being discovered by Beyonce and opening for her on her Lemonade tour. In terms of acting, Bailey previously appeared in Grown-ish, Austin & Ally, and Last Holiday.
The Little Mermaid will see Bailey join Jacob Tremblay and Awkwafina as Flounder and Skuttle, with Melissa McCarthy in talks to play Ursula.
Bailey's casting will surely be a surprise to some fans, as Spider-Man: Far From Home star Zendaya had been believed to be tied to the role in some way or another for over a year. In October of last year, Zendaya addressed that possibility, saying that it was nothing more than "just rumors".
The film will be directed by Marshall (Mary Poppins Returns), with a script from David Magee and Jane Goldman. The film is expected to feature original songs from the 1989 animated blockbuster, as well as new tracks composed by Alan Menken and Lin-Manuel Miranda.
“There are things I’ve learned about how you have to work to integrate songs into story, and how it has to feel earned. It can’t just be sort of put there, placed there, because you feel there should be a song,” Marshall told ComicBook.com. “It has to be a song that’s earned, that takes you there. And so as we’re working on, in a way, fleshing out The Little Mermaid — Ariel has one song in the animated film — and so we’re looking for maybe more material.”
“Alan Menken and Lin-Manuel Miranda are coming on board to write some lyrics, so that’s exciting, to sort of take what was there, which is so beloved, but also find a way to create a live-action version of it,” Marshall said, adding “the lessons of creating an original musical have been very helpful so far.”
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