Halle Bailey is going “Under the Sea.”
The Grown-ish actress, who sings with her sister as part of the duo Chloe x Halle, will star as Ariel in Disney’s live-action version of its beloved, animated The Little Mermaid, which landed in theaters in 1989.
Although Bailey’s musical act has opened for Beyoncé — a huge deal — the much-anticipated flick will mark her first movie.
Director Rob Marshall, who helmed Mary Poppins Returns and Chicago, offered his seal of approval: “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,” he said in a statement.
While the movie isn’t scheduled to arrive in theaters until 2021, many people on social media have already weighed in on the casting choice.
They batted down trolls who objected to a black woman being cast in the role, since the animated Ariel was white. “Ariel is white with completely natural red hair, and a person of color is being her? I'm confused because anytime a Caucasian is the role of a POC, there's practically a revolution and fistfights. But this is okay... *crickets chirp*,” one commenter argued.
Another naysayer referred to Princess Tiana, from Disney’s 2009 movie The Princess and the Frog, the first African-American Disney princess.
“Literally makes no sense! Last I checked Ariel is a REDHEAD! If princess Tiana was cast as a white female the entire world would be up in arms!” one critic wrote.
“Y’all respect all the original princesses looks in all the live actions so far and decide to ruin Ariel...wtf??? Absolute garbage...keep it classic or nothing...better not change the characters in Disney World meet and greets,” someone else wrote.
And there was this: “Okay I’m definitely not watching the live action movie it shouldn’t even be called the little mermaid because that is NOT Ariel.” Others reminded the commenter that no human would be Ariel, because Ariel is a mermaid.
when will we get an ariel that really represents the mermaid community pic.twitter.com/k0GcB0Qhmw— rachel (@artwo27) July 3, 2019
However, plenty of moviegoers were thrilled with the choice.
Me because THE Halle Bailey is going to be Ariel pic.twitter.com/yY5k4HHUb2— Kyla🤙🏾 (@sorryimkyla) July 3, 2019
been watching Chloe and Halle since their youtube cover days and here Halle is being cast as Ariel in Disney’s live action Little Mermaid... A WOMAN OF COLOR WILL BE PLAYING ONE OF MY FAV DISNEY PRINCESSES 👑😭 pic.twitter.com/2N2RQoQGTh— O n i (@onifinau) July 3, 2019
To anyone who thinks Halle won’t make a good Ariel just because she’s black, throwback to when Brandy absolutely killed it as Cinderella in the 90s 😍😩 pic.twitter.com/cq0WVWo21F— Common Girl (@girlhoodposts) July 3, 2019
she is literally the most realistic portrayal of Ariel we could have had. i’ll never stop celebrating this pic.twitter.com/rfXTgRfOrx— KOKO J’6 (@KOKOperfume) July 3, 2019
Black Twitter reacting to the news that Halle Bailey from the group ChloeXHalle was cast as Ariel in Disney's Live Action Little Mermaid pic.twitter.com/QiBEOG2awy— Matthew A. Cherry 🏁 (@MatthewACherry) July 3, 2019
This Ariel news has me in my feels. I remember in first grade when my friend told me I couldn't be Cinderella for storybook character day because I was black. Who's crying now Karen?— HZek (@HZek) July 3, 2019
There was also a contingent of people who read that actress Halle Berry had been cast as Ariel. They were all for the actress in general, but tended to think that, at 52, she was an odd choice for the role of a teenager. (Although Berry is famously ageless.)
Wow thank god im not alone in this. Me and my mom thought the same thing. I thought Disney was out of there mind if they casted Halle berry as Ariel a 50 year old playing a 16 year old! but I saw the photo and it was a sigh of relief. They should of made it more clear.— Dylan pucilowski (@Superpooch97) July 3, 2019
Actress Zendaya, who had been rumored to be up for the role, gave her opinion on Bailey’s next gig in one short statement.
Another immediate fan? Yara Shahidi, the star of Grown-ish.
Shahidi said that she’s “absolutely so excited” for her co-star, who has “expanded the world of powerful princesses in so many ways.”
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