The Little Mermaid, the director defends the casting of Halle Bailey: “We were simply looking for the best Ariel”

The Little Mermaid live-action director Rob Marshall defends the casting of Halle Bailey as Ariel, and shares how she came to be cast in the role.

The Little Mermaid director defends the casting of Halle Bailey: "We were simply looking for the best Ariel"

In a few days it will arrive at the cinema The little Mermaid in a live-action version, and the choice of its protagonist, the actress and singer, caused much discussion Halle Bailey. In a recent interview with Deadline, the director of the film, Rob Marshall, returned to defend the choiceexplaining not only i reasons for which Bailey was selected, but also telling how the casting went.

It’s almost time to go to the bottom of the sea with Ariel and the rest of the characters from The Little Mermaid, who after making animation history with the 89 classic, will be back on screens again thanks to Disney, this time in the flesh.

But since the announcement of Halle Bailey as Ariel, the choice of a black actress for a character that many now associate with the image provided by the animated film has caused much discussion. Yet, for those who took care of the casting, it seemed the most natural decision to make, once they saw what the girl was capable of.

Halle Bailey’s Little Mermaid will be “very modern” according to Rob Marshall

How Halle Bailey became Ariel

The first time I saw Halle was at the Grammys, castings had just begun at the time. We were looking everywhere, and we didn’t set out to cast a black actress. The only thing we said was ‘Let’s just find the best Ariel’” Marshall told Deadline microphones “And then I saw this beautiful creature, singing in the voice of an angel at the Grammys. I thought ‘Who is this girl?’. And we called her. I had no idea if she could act, but I thought there was something really ethereal about her“.

And then he started singing Part of Your World, and before the song could finish, I was completely in tears. And I didn’t even notice. She had such a deep connection to the emotion of the song. You know, she had this natural depth that seemed really built into her” he continued, explaining that “The fact is that in looking for Ariel, you are asking for so many things: innocence, vulnerability but also great strength at the same time. She is a determined, even stubborn character who sees what he wants and tries to get it. But she also had to convey a certain joy. And Halle mirrored all of that“.

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From audition to screen

She was the first actress we auditioned for the film, the first. And then we auditioned everyone else. And she had raised the bar so much that no one could live up to itMarshall later revealedWe did a screen test with her, and we knew she was our Ariel. I immediately went to Bob Iger, showed him the screen test, and he was like, ‘Sure, of course. She is Ariel’“.

And this is how the director communicated it to the person concerned…
I called her and said ‘Hi, sorry, is Ariel there by any chance?’ and she, after a few seconds, was like ‘What? Really?’“recalled”She told me that as a child she always pretended to be Ariel. The Little Mermaid was a really important film for her as a child. And it’s funny to see how it is the same for your daughter, and even someone 10 years younger, and then others even younger. They are inspired by it. And Halle was just overwhelmed with emotion“.

The little mermaid will be at the cinema from May 24th.

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