By Terrance Turner
Sept. 9, 2022
A teaser trailer for Disney’s live-action remake of its 1989 classic “The Little Mermaid” debuted today, with singer Halle Bailey as the title character. The trailer was released Friday during the studio’s D23 fan expo, according to Entertainment Weekly. The clip shows Bailey as the mermaid Ariel, swimming through the depths of the ocean and longing to be “where the people are”. It even shows Bailey singing “Part of Your World”.
“[Halle] sings that moment up an octave from the original,” director Rob Marshall told Variety. “It’s the most chilling, and the most thrilling, film moment because it crystallizes not just her incredible vocal ability but the emotional passion she has in singing it.” Marshall, who made “Chicago,” says she was a natural onscreen. “Halle had this incredible facility to be able to dig deep, find the truth of Ariel’s passion and her heart,” he recalls. “It was like watching a great film actor being born.”
According to Variety:
Adapted from the 1989 film from John Musker and Ron Clements, which was based on the Hans Christian Andersen 19th century fairy tale, “The Little Mermaid” tells the story of Ariel, the youngest daughter of King Triton (Javier Bardem), the ruler of the underwater kingdom Atalantica. Ariel, already fascinated by the world of humans, falls deeply in love with the handsome Prince Eric (Jonah Hauer-King) after saving him during a shipwreck, and resolves to meet him in the world above water.
Her quest brings her in conflict with her father and in the clutches of the scheming sea witch Ursula (Melissa McCarthy). The cast also features Jacob Tremblay, Awkwafina and Daveed Diggs as the voices of classic Disney sidekicks Flounder, Scuttle and Sebastian.
Filming “The Little Mermaid” was a metamorphic experience for Bailey, who was 18 when she auditioned and 21 when she finished production. “When I moved away to London I learned so much about myself,” she says. The U.K. and Italy-based shoot was the longest she had ever been away from her family in Los Angeles, and the shoot was emotionally and physically demanding. “It was kind of a shock because I had never done anything like that before.”
Director Rob Marshall, who directed “Chicago” in 2002, celebrated the fact that this was a live action musical. Bringing up the 1989 original, he said, “When we started this journey it was very important to honor the original” but also reimagine and “bring some depth” to the new film.
“The Little Mermaid” will premiere in theaters May 26, 2023.