Halle Bailey was spotted getting her fins wet in the first glimpse of her portrayal of Ariel in Disney’s ‘The Little Mermaid’ live-action film.
The 21-year-old “Grown-ish” star was seen cozying up to her co-star Jonah Hauer-King while filming Disney’s live-action “The Little Mermaid” in Italy. In the images, the younger half of R&B duo Chloe X Halle is seen in a wetsuit and mermaid tail while appearing to rehearse the scene when Ariel finds Prince Eric washed up on a beach and saves his life. Production team members can be seen surrounding them as they hang out beachside. According to The Daily Mail, the shoot is currently taking place on a Sardinian shoreline, and the two stars seem to be getting along swimmingly.
Following the July 2019 announcement that Bailey landed the role, making her the first Black actress to portray the human-loving, red-headed mermaid, a wave of racist backlash hit the internet and was even given a hashtag, #notmyariel. She responded to the online hate with maturity and grace, telling Variety, “I feel like I’m dreaming and I’m just grateful and I don’t pay attention to the negativity. I just feel like this role was something bigger than me and greater and it’s going to be beautiful. I’m just so excited to be a part of it.”
Freeform also responded to the racist responses with a statement in full support of the Disney star. It began by pointing out that although the story was written by Danish author Hans Christian Andersen, it is still a fictional story about a fictional creature, before schooling the ignorant. “Danish mermaids can be black because Danish *people* can be black,” reasoned the open letter, which was shared across the network’s social media accounts. “Black Danish people, and thus mer-folk, can also *genetically* (!!!) have red hair.”
“So after all this is said and done, and you still cannot get past the idea that choosing the incredible, sensational, highly-talented, gorgeous Halle Bailey is anything other than the INSPIRED casting that it is because she ‘doesn’t look like the cartoon one,’ oh boy, do I have some news for you…about you,” it read in closing.
The remake of Disney’s 1989 animated classic, which is expected to hit theaters in 2022, will include memorable songs from the original and a star-studded cast including, Daveed Diggs as Sebastian, Javier Bardem as King Triton, Melissa McCarthy as Ursula the sea witch, Jacob Tremblay as Flounder, Awkwafina as Scuttle, and Noma Dumezweni as a brand new character.