It’s a new day under the sea, because Ariel is a Black woman! Actress and recording artist Halle Bailey of Chloe x Halle has been cast in the lead role of Ariel in Disney’s live-action The Little Mermaid remake.
Making her feature film debut, the Grammy nominee will lead a cast which already includes Awkwafina, Jacob Tremblay and Melissa McCarthy in the film, directed by Rob Marshall.
“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,” said Marshall in a statement.
Bailey is a protege of Beyonce, with the singer discovering she and her sister, Chloe, after they became popular on YouTube. She would go on to sign them to her Parkwood Entertainment label. The sisters currently star in Freeform’s black-ish spinoff, grown-ish.
The original 1989 film, based on the fairytale, is considered one of the most iconic animated films of all-time. It follows a mermaid princess who dreams of becoming human after she falls in love with a human prince.
The film will be produced by Marshall as well as John DeLuca, Marc Platt and Lin-Manuel Miranda. The film will go into production in early 2020. Disney says that additional casting announcements will be unveiled in the next few weeks.
Photo: Getty Images/Disney