Disney’s forthcoming live-action adaptation of the animated classic “The Little Mermaid” has found its lead performer.
Halle Bailey, widely known as half of the R&B duo Chloe x Halle, has been tapped to portray the titular mermaid, Ariel. According to Variety, sources said Bailey had been a front-runner for the role “from the beginning.”
“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,” the film’s director, Rob Marshall, told the outlet in a statement on Wednesday.
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Bailey, who will make her Hollywood debut with the film, joins previously announced stars Jacob Tremblay and Awkwafina, who play the characters of Flounder and Scuttle, respectively. Melissa McCarthy has also been reported to be in talks to play the film’s iconic villain, Ursula.
This new “Little Mermaid,” which begins production in 2020, will be heavily based on the 1989 original animated version, with several songs from the initial film being carried over into this live-action version. Original composer Alan Menken, along with “Hamilton” creator Lin-Manuel Miranda, have also been commissioned to write new songs for the upcoming film.
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Bailey’s entertainment career began several years ago when she and her sister Chloe formed the musical duo Chloe x Halle. The siblings later rose to prominence due to their association with Beyoncé, as they appeared in her “Lemonade” film, before opening for the singer on her “Formation” world tour in 2016 and her “On the Run II” tour with Jay-Z last year.
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Chloe x Halle also perform the theme song to ABC’s “Grown-ish,” and were later added to the show’s main cast.