The announcement of Halle Bailey, a US singer from the classical duo Chloe X Halle as the new Ariel for Disney’s live-action remake of the well-anticipated The Little Mermaid has caused a debate amongst audience online. Ariel whom originally portrayed as fair-skinned with red locks is re-imagined as a person of colour (PC), a black woman.
After an extensive search for the perfect actress for the role, director Rob Marshall said 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 19-year-old star expressed her excitement through her Twitter saying “dream come true”.
dream come true… ??♀️? pic.twitter.com/sndjYUS6wO
— chloe x halle (@chloexhalle) July 3, 2019
The news was widely praised on Twitter, with many users applauding the forward-thinking approach of the film industry in portraying diversity in its characters. However, despite the flood of loves and supports, there are quite a number individuals did not receive the information as well. Twitter user @BobbyDank pointed out how Ariel whom initially has red hair was not played by a Red Head shows the group still lacks representation in the media.
— BobbyDank ?✍? (@BobbyDank) July 4, 2019
However, this is not the first time Disney made a step-forward approach. Disney has also proved with 2014’s Maleficent that live-action remakes are at their best when they have a strong point of view about their source material and aren’t afraid to remix it heavily. Bailey’s casting might be a signal that the new The Little Mermaid is willing to look back at the original with a critical eye.
Production on The Little Mermaid is expected to begin in early 2020.