Halle Bailey has been cast as accomplished swimmer/princess Ariel in Disney’s upcoming live-action tentpole remake of The Little Mermaid, which is slated to begin production in 2020.
The 19-year-old singer and actress, who stars on Freeform’s grown-ish, is best known as one half (guess which one) of Chloe x Halle, the R&B duo act she shares with her younger sister Chloe. The pair are also frequently referred to in the music sphere as “Beyoncé’s proteges,” having caught Beyoncé’s attention — and a record deal — after their YouTube cover of “Pretty Hurts” went viral in 2013; they’ve since opened for Bey and Jay-Z’s On The Road II tour.
Director Rob Marshall, who will helm The Little Mermaid as his first project after Mary Poppins Returns, said of the casting: “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.” On the topic of Mermaid itself, Marshall told EW in December, “It’s about a woman finding her voice — a girl finding her voice, actually — and that immediately just felt like an interesting, timely piece that resonated with us.”
As with most recent films on Disney’s slate of live-action remakes, the new Mermaid will include the game-changing 1989 animated film’s original classic songs from Alan Menken and Howard Ashman, as well as new tunes written by Menken with lyrics by Lin-Manuel Miranda (who is such a fan of the original film that he named his own son Sebastian). The film will be produced by Miranda and the continued musical wonder-team of Marshall, John DeLuca, and Marc Platt.