June 5, 2023

Walt Disney Studios has established a remarkable trend of making live-action remakes of its classic stories. One after the other, all the fairytales of the past era are being brought to life by the studio in an attempt to tell the magical stories in a new light of living characters. With the live-action Peter Pan & Wendy due out in April, Disney will continue their string of live-action remakes a month later with The Little Mermaid.

Hans Christian Andersen’s 1837 fairy tale of Ariel, titled The Little Mermaid, inspired Disney’s 1989 animated film of the same name. The film was widely successful and Ariel the mermaid became a household name. After the announcement of a live-action remake back in 2016, the wait will soon be over. The Little Mermaid is filmmaker Rob Marshall’s live-action reimagining of the studio’s Oscar-winning animated musical classic of 1989. The story will likely follow the original events, but it’s only a little more wait till we find out. Here is everything we know so far about The Little Mermaid.


Editor’s Note: This piece was updated on April 23, 2023.

Image via Disney

Related:‘The Little Mermaid’s New Original Song Will Celebrate Ariel’s First Time on Land

Watch the Trailer for The Little Mermaid

Walt Disney Studios dropped the official teaser trailer for The Little Mermaid on September 10th, 2022 during a presentation at Disney’s D23 Expo. The teaser took the audience by waves, and quite literally so since the scene opens showing colossal ocean waves. The following scene takes the viewers underwater and offers stunning glimpses of the fantastic environment beneath the vast ocean. In a wonderful spellbinding moment, the young mermaid Ariel is shown singing “Out of the sea, wish I could be… part of that world.Halle Bailey‘s first appearance as Ariel garnered great attention from fans.

A thirty-second spot for the film was released by Disney on February 15, 2023. While the first half of the spot has pretty much the same amount of footage as the initial teaser trailer, the last 15 seconds give us a better look at Ariel, and our first glimpses at her mermaid sisters, Jonah Hauer-King as Prince Eric (in what seems to be the live-action rendition of “Kiss the Girl”), and Melissa McCarthy as Ursala.

During the 95th Annual Academy Awards on March 12, 2023, stars Halle Bailey and Melissa McCarthy went on to the stage to debut the full trailer for The Little Mermaid. The two-and-a-half-minute trailer gave fans their long-awaited extended look at the film, including the first official look at Javier Bardem‘s Triton and Daveed Diggs‘ Sebastian, among others. Much like the previous two teasers, the full trailer includes Halle Bailey’s rendition of “Part of Your World.”

We also got a new teaser for The Little Mermaid on April 17, which you can see below:

What Is the Official Release Date for The Little Mermaid?

In May 2016 it was reported that Disney was in early development for a live-action adaptation of The Little Mermaid. Since then, the release of The Little Mermaid has been long overdue. Two months after Halle Bailey, posted on Instagram that she had finished filming the movie’s official release date was revealed to be May 26, 2023, exclusively in movie theaters. Director Rob Marshall revealed to Collider that because of COVID and the film’s reliance on CGI, post-production on the film will finally be finished in March 2023.

Incidentally, The Little Mermaid‘s runtime comes up to a whopping 2 hours and 15 minutes (135 minutes), which is a new record for Disney live-action remakes.

Will You Be Able to Stream The Little Mermaid?

Image via Disney

After The Little Mermaid has completed its exclusive theatrical run, the film will be released on the Disney+ streaming service. Based on Disney’s past release models, the film won’t be made available to stream before 45 to 90 days after its theatrical release.

What Is the Plot of The Little Mermaid?

The official synopsis for The Little Mermaid by Walt Disney Studios read:

“The Little Mermaid” is the beloved story of Ariel, a beautiful and spirited young mermaid with a thirst for adventure. The youngest of King Triton’s daughters and the most defiant, Ariel longs to find out more about the world beyond the sea, and while visiting the surface, falls for the dashing Prince Eric. While mermaids are forbidden to interact with humans, Ariel must follow her heart. She makes a deal with the evil sea witch, Ursula, which gives her a chance to experience life on land, but ultimately places her life – and her father’s crown – in jeopardy.

There is not much mystery in The Little Mermaid‘s plot. As seen in Disney’s many other live-action remakes, it is anticipated that the film’s plot will largely stick to the original. With the well-known song “Part of Your World,” in which Ariel sings about her wish to be a part of the world beyond the water, i.e., the human realm, the teaser already alluded to Ariel’s fascination with the human world. Fans will get to see Ariel and Prince Eric’s romance as they deal with the challenges posed by their differences.

Will The Little Mermaid be a Musical?

halle bailey and jonah hauer king in the little mermaid
Image via Disney

The Little Mermaid will be a musical fantasy movie. Lin-Manuel Miranda will be writing the music for the live-action retelling alongside the animated film’s composer Alan Menken. The remake will include the original movie’s song “Part of Your World,” according to Halle Bailey’s announcement on January 16, 2020. Though, other original film scores are not very likely to be used in the movie. Menken announced that the movie will include four new songs in an interview with Disney’s For Scores podcast. Menken also disclosed that the tracks would have “some rapping” in the manner of Miranda’s earlier efforts and a more conventional style. With the talented new composers working on the film’s music and many exciting announcements, the film will be a magical musical fairytale.

Who Are the Cast and Characters in The Little Mermaid’s Live-Action?

Image via Walt Disney Studios

Fans wanted singer Ariana Grande to play the part of Ariel, and there were speculations that Zendaya may take it on, so the casting of the character has been a great surprise. Halle Bailey was revealed to portray the titular role of Ariel on July 3, 2019, via Disney’s official social media pages. Praising the young actress, director Rob Marshall said,

“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.”

Bailey is famous for her musical career with her sister, Chloe Bailey, under the duo’s stage name Chloe x Halle. Together they have earned five Grammy Award nominations since 2018. In her acting career, her role as Skyler Forster in the television sitcom Grown-ish gave her recognition. Bailey will also soon be seen in the film adaptation of the Broadway musical The Color Purple.

By November 2019 the casting of Prince Eric’s character, the love interest and main character opposite Ariel was announced. Earlier, the famous singer Harry Styles, and the comedian and actor Jack Whitehall were being considered for the role. However, in August 2019, it was revealed that Styles has turned down the part. British actor Jonah Hauer-King was then confirmed to appear as the charming human prince Eric.

It was revealed on June 28, 2019, that Melissa McCarthy was in talks to play Ursula in the movie. McCarthy confirmed her casting as Ursula during an interview on The Ellen DeGeneres Show on February 18, 2020. McCarthy also works as a comedian, producer, writer, and fashion designer. She has received various honors, including two Primetime Emmy nominations, two Academy Award nominations, and two Golden Globe nominations.

In July 2019, acclaimed actor Javier Bardem was cast as King Triton. Bardem is well renowned for his parts in big-budget and international movies. He received the Oscar for Best Supporting Actor for his portrayal of the psychotic killer Anton Chigurh in the Coen Brothers‘ thriller No Country for Old Men (2007). Given his excellent acting record, King Triton will be a memorable character for the fans.

Art Malik will be playing the role of Prince Eric’s loyal butler and confidant, Grimsby. Grimsby sees to it that Eric finds the right girl to marry. Apart from these already-known characters, Noma Dumezweni will be seen as Queen Selina, Lorena Andrea will play Perla, and Kajsa Mohammar will portray Karina: three new characters introduced exclusively for the live-action adaptation.

Additionally, Jessica Alexander, Russell Balogh, Adrian Christopher, and Simone Ashley have also been roped in for the film in undisclosed roles.

Who Are the Voice Actors in The Little Mermaid?

Daveed Diggs smiling in front of a still of the crab Sebastian from the Disney animated film the Little Mermaid

Daveed Diggs, most known for his role in Lin-Manuel Miranda’s musical Hamilton, joined the cast in October 2019 and will provide Sebastian the crab’s voice.

Awkwafina and Jacob Tremblay joined the cast in June 2019, with Tremblay voicing Flounder and Awkwafina voicing Scuttle. In order to appear in underwater scenes, Scuttle’s character will be portrayed as a female diving bird rather than a male seagull as in the original.

Related:Daveed Diggs Talks ‘Extrapolations,’ the Impact of Climate Change, & Halle Bailey in ‘The Little Mermaid’

Who Is Behind The Little Mermaid?

The film is directed by Rob Marshall, best known for directing the film version of the Broadway musical Chicago. The story of The Little Mermaid is credited to David Magee, Rob Marshall, and

John DeLuca with David Magee and Jane Goldman serving as the talented screenwriters for the film. Alan Menken will return as the film’s composer to write new songs alongside producer Lin-Manuel Miranda. The cinematography comes courtesy of Academy Award Winner Dion Beebe, and Wyatt Smith is serving as the editor for the film. Four excellent producers are also behind the making of the film, including Marc Platt, Miranda, Marshall, and DeLuca.

Visual effects for the film will be provided by Industrial Light & Magic, Wētā FX, Moving Picture Company, and Framestore. The Production companies involved with the film are Walt Disney Pictures, Lucamar Productions, Marc Platt Productions, and 5000 Broadway Productions.

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