Halle Bailey, 19, was cast as Ariel in ‘The Little Mermaid’ live-action movie

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As we heard earlier this week, casting choices are being firmed up for Disney’s live-action version of The Little Mermaid. Apparently, Melissa McCarthy is in talks to play Ursula, which is a problem for Lizzo fans and Tituss Burgess fans. But here’s a bigger problem: now Disney is actively shunning racist filmgoers. Can you imagine? Disney has cast Halle Bailey in the lead role of Ariel. Halle is the 19-year-old best known as one half of Chloe X Halle. She’s also known as Halle Berry, because apparently people misread her name constantly. But she’s an African-American girl from LA. And now she’s going to be part of one of the most anticipated live-action remakes of the decade.

Chloe x Halle member Halle Bailey is ready to become part of Disney’s world. The R&B singer has been tapped to play Ariel in Disney’s next live-action adaptation of “The Little Mermaid.” Although director Rob Marshall has spent the last couple of months meeting with talent, insiders say Bailey has been a clear front runner 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,” Marshall said in a statement.

Bailey is joining a cast that includes Jacob Tremblay and Awkwafina, while Melissa McCarthy is in talks to play Ursula. “The Little Mermaid” will incorporate original songs from the 1989 animated hit as well as new tunes from original composer Alan Menken and “Hamilton” creator Lin-Manuel Miranda. Miranda is also producing the film along with Marshall, Marc Platt and John DeLuca.

[From Variety]

In case you’re wondering, Chloe X Halle is signed to Beyonce’s label, and they even opened for Beyonce a few years ago. Beyonce is now part of the Disney machine, or should I say that Disney is now part of Beyonce’s machinery. It would not surprise me at all if Beyonce put in a good word for Halle to Disney executives as Bey is gearing up to promote Disney’s The Lion King. And in case you’re wondering, Halle Berry approves:

You know who doesn’t approve? Butthurt racists who believe that Ariel’s race is part of some kind of historical record or canon. Ariel is literally a fictional character and she can be portrayed by anyone, of any race.

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Photos courtesy of WENN.

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95 Responses to “Halle Bailey, 19, was cast as Ariel in ‘The Little Mermaid’ live-action movie”

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  1. Becks1 says:

    People are so mad over this! I don’t know anything about her but I am sure she’s good if she was picked.

    I am kind of over the Disney remakes though, but that’s not her fault.

  2. Trillian says:

    I am laughing my ass off at people on Twitter explaining why it’s biologically wrong (!!) for a mermaid (!!) to have dark skin. I wonder where those biology Phds are on talking crabs.

    • Olenna says:

      I had to SMH at those comments. The movie is complete fantasy, no biology or science involved, LOL! My kids had this movie on tape and, IIRC, Ursula was purple and Ariel hooked up with a human. So, what’s the big deal?

    • Nev says:

      Love it. Slay Halle.

    • Tate says:

      I am also having a good laugh on twitter. So many tweets starting with…. I am not racist but….

      The comments that follow are amazing!! 😂😂😂

      • Liz version 700 says:

        Tate good point… comments that start with “I’m not racist but” never follow with comments that aren’t ridiculous.

    • @Backstage Bitchy says:

      @Trillian your comment made me LOL. Yes, thank goodness for those amateur scientists and their defense of under-represented fair-skinned mermaids everywhere!

  3. SKF says:

    She’s stunning and she has an incredible voice. Love this!

    I hope Melissa doesn’t sign on and they get someone more interesting for Ursula! I hate that choice…

    Now… Idris Elba for King Triton? Who else are we thinking of? Jamie Fox?

    And who will voice Sebastian?? He has two of the best songs!

    • Eliza says:

      I heard they originally wanted Liza. That would be amazing.

      • SKF says:

        Oh my godddddddd! That would have been perfection!!!! Why not another diva?? A broadway star? Chita? A drag queen? There are so many better options! Melissa is the most boring option imaginable and she is all wrong for the role.

    • Murphy says:

      Omg Idris Elba for Triton, yes please!!!

    • jensays says:

      I saw the Little Mermaid in concert at the Hollywood Bowl a few years back and Tituss Burgess played Sebastian (he was incredible) and Rebel Wilson played Ursula (good not great – I’m not completely sold on Melissa McCarthy either but don’t think she would do a bad job). I do think Titus could go full “Andromedon” and could play ALL the roles. This may be a plot line from Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt or something I made up in my head. Either one is plausible.

  4. Arizona says:

    I love it, although I secretly hope she still has red hair. I’m much less excited (as in not at all) for Melissa McCarthy as Ursula.

    • Aang says:

      I know a red head who is livid at the idea of a non ginger actress in a ginger wig. She thinks gingers don’t get enough representation and would rather not see a ginger Ariel if it means a ginger wig. As far as Ursula goes, the role was modeled after Divine so I think a drag queen would be an awesome and fitting choice for that role.

      • Kimmy says:

        Not going to lie, Ariel was always my favorite bc she had red hair like me.

        But honestly, as long as she can do justice to my favorite songs in all of Disney’s canon, I’m good with it! I appreciate that they are casting new, fresh faces for big parts though!

      • SKF says:

        I mean… does she get equally up in arms over Emma Stone, Amy Adams and Sophie Turner? None of them are real gingers and yet they’ve all played iconic gingers. As have so many other actresses. Hell, even Nicole Kidman – who used to be a genuine ginger – has worn ginger wigs, including in Batman and BLL.

      • Naddie says:

        “Gingers don’t get much representation” . Lol, white people are really a joke. And I say that as a whitey.

    • Erinn says:

      Meh. Original version had the little mermaid as a blonde. So it’s already going off the original story to cast a redhead.

    • Lua says:

      This! Just don’t make her hair any color but red…that’s my only issue. They couldn’t do this with one of their billions of blonde princesses?! I grew up being told by everyone in my school that I was ugly because I had red hair. The only girl in my school with red hair. I was spat on. People followed me around and threw things in my hair. Put gum in my hair so my mom had to cut it. Then boys told me I looked like a boy. Ariel came along and suddenly everyone’s favorite princess had red hair and I stopped having to cry and plead to my mom to dye my hair black because the bullying finally stopped. She’s always been my favorite princess since. Keep her hair red! Princesses can have red hair too. Not just the clumsy comic relief characters, ugly stepchildren, and the villians 🙄

      • DS9 says:

        I’m rolling my eyes at all of the “what about redhead representation” cries I’m seeing in these comments.

        Shouldn’t that make you more understanding of the significance of casting a black actress? There is plenty of strong, beautiful redheads in media today.

  5. Seraphina says:

    Kaiser I so agree that it’s racists that are hurt over a fictional character being portrayed with darker skin. BUT, we have people who refuse to believe Jesus, more than likely, had blue eyes, darker skin and dark hair. And wasn’t tall like he’s been depicted. So this doesn’t surprise me at all.

    • pottymouth pup says:

      where do you get that Jesus more than likely had blue eyes? He was a Jew from Nazareth so it be most likely he was very Semitic looking: olive complexion, brown eyes and I could easily believe he had a jewfro

      • Seraphina says:

        That was a mistype. I meant that we have people who refuse to believe Jesus didn’t have blue eyes, blonde hair and was 6 foot tall.

  6. Dark and Stormy says:

    Never heard of her and I was confused by the name for a minute. Personally I don’t care what color her skin is as long as she has red hair as Ariel. That hair is iconic.

    • Original T.C. says:

      Ladies, ladies, ladies,
      You can get red hair dye anywhere in the world for as little as $0 from a plant in the bush to your local corner store to a Hollywood salon. Even tribes from every continent with very little contact with the modern world have access to and use red dye! It’s abundant in nature.

      In fact for us Black woman, Red is the easiest color to dye our hair without even trying! A bag of $5 henna will easily get her natural locs Red and shiny at the blink of an eye. Google has pictures of her with dyed red hair.

  7. BlueSky says:

    She’s also on my favorite show “grown-ish”
    Someone on Twitter brought up a good point of how Disney has made about 49 films and just recently made a film with a black princess.

    As a black woman, I spent my entire life watching movies, seeing magazines, commercials and seeing little to no representation. So to all those racist trolls butt hurt because a sea creature that doesn’t exist is being made black, imagine going your whole life hardly seeing anyone that looks like you on film.

  8. Leriel says:

    As a big fan of original animated movie, I don’t really care how she looks, only how she sings, and this girl has a voice of an angel.

    Racists on twitter tried to explain why mermaid can’t be black, lmao.

    I don’t understand why people are offended. It’s Disney movie, Disney remake, they can do whatever they want. And in fairytale itself, by Hans Christian Andersen, mermaid had a pink-coloured skin, where are pink-coloured skin guardians, lol.

    • Eliza says:

      They made a Beauty and the Beast remake where everyone but 2 characters spoke with British accents, while the other 2 seemed to keep their native French accent in France. Why are all these English people in the French countryside reading Shakespeare? No French authors? Disney is about making money, not sense.

      I also loved the Brandy Cinderella of yesteryear. Brandy was Cinderella. Whoopi was the Queen, married to the guy from Alias, and their son, Prince Charming, was Asian. Plus Bernadette Peters as the step-mother. The parts were cast well for the movie although no one looked like the original animated “cast” but I totally played that on repeat.

      • IlsaLund says:

        It would be great if Disney upended the whole film. Cast the film color blind so the racist heads would continue to explode. Would love to see an Asian Eric (Charles Melton, yes please). Just mix the whole thing up.

      • entine says:

        Check the 1993 film “Much Ado about Nothing”, directed y Kenneth Branagh.

      • Hollz says:

        I bought that version of Cinderella on dvd earlier this year, I love it!

      • Squirrelgirl says:

        I grew up watching the version of Cinderella with Brandy. It was and still is my favorite!!

      • sassbr says:

        That wasn’t modeled after the Disney movie, that was Roger and Hammerstein’s musical Cinderella, which shot for television with Julie Andrews.

      • Parigo says:

        Melton would make an excellent Disney Prince.

    • Digital Unicorn says:

      I am so glad that they learned from Beauty and the Beast and cast someone who could actually sing in the lead. Emma Watson was just a dire dire choice and she ruined that movie.

      I went on YouTube to hear her sing and girl has the pipes to pull of Ariel’s songs. She’ll be great.

      • Abby says:

        1000% agree. Emma ruined it for me. I still wish they’d cast Emmy Rossum in Beauty and the Beast.

  9. Penguin says:

    She’s got a very pretty heart shaped face, so yeah I can see her as Ariel.

    However, I’ve had no interest in seeing any of the remakes, so I’m not sure I’m in for this one.

    • JanetDR says:

      And her eyes! I haven’t seen any remakes yet, and probably won’t see this one either, but darned if she doesn’t look a lot like Ariel. Personally, I think mermaids should be greenish 😄

  10. Eliza says:

    Ariel’s voice is her one character trait that can’t be changed. All her sisters look different it’s not like all mermaids were redheads. She was the center of her dads show, it was her voice that Eric fell in love with, her voice that was leveraged for legs, her voice used to lure him away, and it’s restoration that opened his mind to her truth. Halle has a wonderful voice. Finding a voice of a generation is much more important to the character than anything else.

  11. Lucy says:

    She’s so beautiful! Can’t wait to see her in character. Also, Jacob Tremblay will be Flounder. OMG.

  12. aiobhan targaryen says:

    Wow. They found someone who is a talented singer and actress and also has a great personality. AND SHE IS A YOUNG BEAUTIFUL BLACK WOMAN. It is almost as if she got the job based on merit and being the strongest and best performer. Who would have thought that was a real thing? Yall keep telling on yourelves with these tweets. It is almost as if merit based arguments around hiring is a bs deflection to keep black people and other minorities out of white spaces.

    lol. I like to start my mornings out with white tears. it makes the day more enjoyable.

  13. IlsaLund says:

    This is crazy….people need to check themselves. Talk about not being able to see how stupid you sound. “Mermaids can’t be dark skinned cause they live deep in the ocean.” “Ariel was such a role model for us redheads when I was growing up.” Really, people? Living in the ocean has nothing to do with a FICTIONAL character’s skin color and there are plenty of dark skinned real life ocean animals. And dark skinned people can have red hair. It’s a mermaid…they don’t exist…anyone can be cast for the part.

    Disney execs cast Halle cause she was the best qualified for the role. Isn’t being the best qualified the only criteria that should matter? At least that’s what the racists yell when justifying why affirmative action shouldn’t matter.😂

    • Hollz says:

      Those people need to google the Goblin Shark. There aren’t pretty things that live that deep, so it’s not like mermaids would be pretty, so it’s not like realism is important for a MYTHICAL CREATURE.

  14. Lisa says:

    I have been a fan for years ever since she and her sister were uploading covers on YouTube. I also am a fan of the original music she and her sister have done. She is beautiful and I feel her voice will work very well as Ariel. I am very excited for her and I hope this puts her on a great career trajectory.

  15. Joy says:

    Her face is so pretty it looks like a Disney princess come to life.

    • TheHeat says:

      I thought the same thing…she already looks like a Disney princess. And I think she’s going to be great as Ariel.

  16. line says:

    The tales that inspired Disney to make theirs movies, doesn’t have a characters with a very precise physical description , except Snow -White. Consequently any actress or actors can play a character disney. The controversy is ridiculous, especially when everyone has accepted that an Indian-British actress plays a woman who from the Middle East (Jasmine).

  17. Kittycat says:

    Halle Bailey has a wonderful voice.

    I am now excited about the film.

  18. Fleur says:

    She’s gorgeous and she looks like a mermaid. Hope they give her ruby red hair! I suspect many children will not notice her skin, they will just sée her as a beautiful woman/mermaid. When I was a little girl my beauty idol was Kristie yamaguchi. she was an ice princess and I thought she was breathtaking. I was not Asian, I was European and looked totally different from her but I wanted to look just like her. It never even occurred to me to think of her race. Children are not inherently racist, it’s their a **hole adult parents who are racist. I am relieved Disney is catching up with colorblind casting. To all girls of different backgrounds, hailey will be an inspiration as a new Disney princess. It makes me sad that Halle berry didn’t get these kind of opportunities in her youth, but she certainly paved the way for future hailey…

  19. NYGal says:

    Someone on Facebook tried to say it was historically inaccurate because in the time and location she would have been white.. umm she is a mermaid ….a mythical creature people!!! She can be whatever. I love Ariel and I’m happy with the choice, she has such a unique beautiful look, I think she is great casting.

  20. BW says:

    Ahem! In the original story, the Little Mermaid is GREEN.

  21. CharliePenn says:

    Well, it’s yet another opportunity for all the racists in our lives to show their racist asses. And then we can continue to add to our list of “people we know to be miserable, racist fuckers and should be avoided”.

  22. IlsaLund says:

    I just hope Disney updates the story. The Little Mermaid was a terrible story. Ariel gives up everything for Eric….no, this is 2019. Please give us a modern story.

    • ME says:

      Ariel CHOSE to give up everything for Eric. She was not forced to. That IS a modern story ! Women have choices !

      • DS9 says:

        This was a girl who was obsessed with the world above the sea, before she laid eyes on Eric.

        Then she lives on land and experiences that world for herself and still wanted it.

        Eric was a bonus. To live on land was everything she wanted.

  23. Cee says:

    LOL Ariel is a MERMAID. She can be portrayed by literally ANYONE. Racists are showing themselves. Good way of staying away from them.
    Ariel is originally green so they need to STFU.

    • ME says:

      In the 1991 version of the story, there was a Black mermaid that Ariel met. I don’t think she was in the movie long though, just a scene.

  24. Cassandra says:

    I’m just over here wishing Disney would stop doing live action remakes altogether….or at least change the plot.

  25. Clementine says:

    I am excited for this movie! Can’t wait to see it!

  26. Enid says:

    I kept reading this headline over the weekend as Halle Berry. I was confused as to why a 50 year old woman was playing Ariel.

  27. Hollz says:

    She’s got the perfect face to play Ariel. Tiny and mischievous.

    I hadn’t heard of her before, but a quick Youtube search shows she has an amazing voice!

    I also didn’t know Awkwafina is going to play/is in talks to play Scuttle and I’m obsessed. This is the best casting.

    As for Ursula, it would be AMAZING if they got a drag queen to play her. Latrice Royale maybe? Or Ginger Minj! Or Eureka O’Hara? I like the idea of getting an actual drag queen to play the role that was based on a queen but played by a woman. (Ursula was based on Divine)

    • Amaria says:

      This. I’d love Eureka or Latrice as Ursula. They’re both perfect for the part.

  28. Frida_K says:

    She’s got the most beautiful, delicate features and her overall look is perfect to portray a mermaid.

    I get so tired of seeing little blondie güeras being held up as the absolute normative value against which all things are measured. It’s a relief to see some changes and, speaking for myself, I have zero sympathy for anyone who sincerely thinks that a black mermaid in a Disney movie is somehow going to destroy their childhood memories. I honestly cannot imagine how myopic and sheltered a person would have to be in order to be traumatized by the thought of a black Disney character. I cannot.

    I’m going to stop now before I really get on a roll.

    She’s lovely, and that’s all I’m going to say at this point.

  29. MellyMel says:

    Well I’m excited to see this! The racists have been going insane on Twitter the last two days because of this and that makes me want to see it even more ha! Also, she has such a beautiful voice!

  30. Murphy says:

    I’m psyched, she’s a great pick!
    I’m also excited for Awkwafina as Scuttle-more fun casting 🙂

  31. Chrissy S says:

    I don’t care about the race, the feature I remembered Ariel by was her red hair. I hope they still stay true to that at least.

    • ME says:

      I highly doubt they would have cast a person with naturally red hair anyways as that shade of red just isn’t natural. Whomever they cast would have worn a red wig anyways. I think they cast the perfect girl for the part !

  32. Charfromdarock says:

    As a pasty white blue eyed red head, I’m offended that racists are using red hair as an excuse to be racist!

  33. Wilma says:

    She’s beautiful and has a beautiful voice. One of the good things about the live action versions of Disney movies is that they can being some needed diversity to the stories. I don’t get white people complaining about this.

  34. shells_bells says:

    I’m one of those people that read this as Halle “Berry” and was REALLY confused.

  35. Dude says:

    She is going to be amazing- gorgeous! Is that her in the photo with the reddish hair? If so- even more perfect

  36. Cindy says:

    What I find funny about this is when white actors get cast in roles meant for people of color it’s always about “acting” and that the whole point of acting is turning yourself into people you’re not.

    If you really are that faithful to characters being played by people who match their characteristics, then yes, I can agree Halle is a horrible choice. I can see she has legs and is very obviously human. Fish people have so little opportunities to be represented and the few they get go to random black human women. Stop this mermaid erasure. #NotMyAriel

    Jokes aside, I’m very much done with live action remakes, and I think the very fact they are live-action already ruins them. The gorgeous animation was part of what made the classics so special. These live action remakes sometimes can be fun but they always end up feeling so tacky and unnecessary.

  37. EM says:

    I don’t want Ursula to be a drag queen. Just a fabulous fat woman. Not many fabulous fat woman roles out there!

  38. Mel says:

    She is so beautiful and has a perfect voice. I don’t think Ariel has to be white but that red hair is iconic. Can Halle use a red wig on the movie? Is that offensive ?

    My vote is Idris for King Triton

  39. Deanne says:

    Ariel needs expressive eyes and a beautiful voice and this girl has both. She’s also a talented actor. She could also pull of any hair colour, so people who view Ariel’s red hair as iconic need not worry. Anyone traumatized at the casting of a Disney Princess because it’s a POC and adds diversity to what has previously been only representative of Whitey McWhiterson, needs to seek therapy. It’s as ridiculous as the men claiming that their childhood memories would be ruined by women being cast as Ghostbusters. There are people trying to start petitions to change the casting. They are all claiming “I’m not racist, but…”. Good God, what’s wrong with people?

  40. He he says:

    All roles should be interchangeable. Depends on the quality of the acting

  41. Megan Hurwitt says:

    I love her on Grownish. She’s going to be great in this role.

  42. dotwood says:

    I was a 5-year-old little redhead when the original came out. I even still have my very worn out VHS copy, cuz I just can’t bear to part with it. So I get that many little redhead girls identified with Ariel, were bullied less afterwards, and that she allowed them to feel “pretty”. But let’s be real–your childhood is not ruined because Disney cast a black Ariel. Get over yourself and let this Ariel do for a generation of young African American girls what the 1989 Ariel did for us redheads. Because quite honestly, it’s ridiculously long overdue and they need to feel represented, too.

  43. kerwood says:

    I hope this young woman has a good team around her because there are some very ill people out there and will fight to keep a fictional character (who is part fish) as lily-White as humanly possible.

    I like the music of ‘The Little Mermaid’ but was only able to watch it once because I thought the message it sent out to little girls was toxic. Give up everything including your family, your culture and your identity just to land a prince.

  44. greenmonster says:

    I have seen comments by Danish and Swedish people who are dissapointed Disney did not cast someone from Scandinavia, because representation… Would anyone please think of the white people?
    I want to dedicate this whole situation to all the “I don’t see colour, I just see humans” people – I bet a lot of them are complaining about childhood memories etc. right now.

  45. Dee Lynch says:

    Anyone going to complain about Jason Momoa playing Aquaman, and he’s not even blond, like the cartoon? Nobody? Okay, then.

  46. Janey says:

    Glad to see I was not the only one who had to re-read the headlines this week. Now I do wonder how it’d be with a more mature Ariel… aka Halle Berry. Lol.