The cast of The Little Mermaid are excited for fans to become part of their world now that the Disney live-action reboot has splashed into theaters.

The cast talked with Shadow and Act Managing Editor Trey Mangum about the film. Halle Bailey, who plays the star Ariel, said that the prospect of playing the Disney princess has been in her life for several years.

“This journey has been such a beautiful experience for me, a transformative experience for me honestly because I auditioned for this film when I was 18 and I just turned 23 this year, so it’s been five years of my life of intense amazingness,” she said.

“I’ve just had such gratitude to be a part of a project like this with such talented people like Jonah,” she continued. “[B]eing a part of this film meant the world to me because not only do I get to take on a role that I’ve known and loved since I was a little girl, which is honestly healing to the inner child within me, but I get to reinvent this version of the Ariel that we all know to show these children, particularly these brown and Black children that they deserve to be in these spaces and they deserve to see themselves on screen.”

Jonah Hauer-King, who plays Prince Eric, talked about how his character has grown from the original animated film. In the film, Prince Eric is a little flat, but in this reboot, Hauer-King’s take on the character includes a lot more personality, such as Eric’s curiosity about the world around him.

“We had a three-month rehearsal stage where talked so much about the script and about the characters,” he said regarding the process of getting to know Prince Eric better as a character,” said Hauer-King. “I think that was a really surprising thing about the story that I love is that Ariel teaches him so much and he teaches her too.”

“They both have this shared fascination of the above-world and the under-world,” he continued. “That was something that was sort of there a little bit in the original but was properly dug into on this and I think it really enriched their relationship as well because they were really kindred spirits.”

Watch the full interviews with the cast, including Daveed Diggs, Awkwafina and Jacob Tremblay below.