Halle Bailey gives first look as Ariel in ‘Little Mermaid’ live-action reboot
By: Jay Moreno
Halle Bailey will soon hit the big screens as Ariel in the upcoming live-action reboot of Disney’s ‘The Little Mermaid.’ The singer-actress shared the first photo of herself via Instagram as the character after production wrapped.
Born in Atlanta, Halle Bailey and older sister Chloe began their careers as child actors. After moving to Los Angeles in 2012, they first gained notoriety on YouTube under the name Chloe x Halle, uploading videos of themselves covering songs. After their cover of Beyoncé’s “Pretty Hurts” went viral (having over 20 million views as of July 2021), the singer herself signed them to her Parkwood Entertainment label in 2015. They released their debut extended play ‘Sugar Symphony‘ the following year. The two also performed as an opening act on Beyoncé’s Formation World Tour.
The sisters released their debut album ‘The Kids Are Alright, in March 2018, earning positive reviews from publications such as MTV News and Teen Vogue. The same year, they joined the Freeform series ‘Grown-ish,’ playing twins Jazz (Chloe) and Sky (Halle).
Further Prominence and Success
Chloe x Halle’s sophomore album ‘Ungodly Hour’ was released in June 2020 to critical praise, making several “Best Of” lists in music magazines such as Billboard and Rolling Stone. The album earned a Grammy nomination for Best Progressive R&B Album and Album of the Year at the BET Awards. The lead single “Do It” was their first to earn a Gold certification and chart on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100, peaking at No. 63.
Despite releasing the album during the COVID-19 pandemic, the duo was promoted through virtual performances on award shows and programs such as ‘Today’ and ‘Jimmy Kimmel Live.’
Landing the Role as Ariel
Similar to their live-action versions of ‘Cinderella‘ and ‘Beauty and the Beast,’ Disney announced a live-action remake of their 1989 film ‘The Little Mermaid.‘ Rob Marshall serves as the film’s director, while actor-singer Lin-Manuel Miranda serves as one of the producers. Alan Menken, the animated film’s music composer, returned for the live-action version.
Bailey, who was cast as mermaid character Ariel in July 2019, received support from her ‘Grown-ish’ co-stars and A-list stars such as Mariah Carey and Halle Berry.
Despite encouragement from some of Hollywood’s biggest names, Bailey received backlash due to being African-American. Various Twitter users began using the hashtag “#NotMyAriel” to voice their disapproval of her casting. Many found criticism of Bailey as racist, leading Disney to defend their casting choice publicly. Jodi Benson, who voiced Ariel in the animated film, defended Bailey at a Florida fan convention.
“The most important thing is to tell the story,” Benson said. “From the spirit of a character is what really matters.”
More on ‘The Little Mermaid‘ reboot
‘The Little Mermaid‘ originally planned to begin production in early 2020, though delayed to January 2021 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Filming wrapped in July, though production halted temporarily due to crew members testing positive for the virus. A release date is not yet known.
Bailey will star alongside Melissa McCarthy as Ursula and Javier Bardem as King Triton. Other stars include Jacob Tremblay and Daveed Diggs as the voices of Flounder and Sebastian, respectively.
“I feel so grateful to have experienced this film in all of its glory,” Bailey said via Instagram after ‘The Little Mermaid‘ completed filming.
Photo courtesy of Getty Images.
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