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Halle Bailey on Making ‘The Little Mermaid’ More Empowering and Inclusive

NOTE: This article is 1 year old and may not include the most recent information.

Fans of Disney’s The Little Mermaid can look forward to a fresh take on the classic tale when the upcoming live-action adaptation hits screens. The movie stars Halle Bailey as the iconic mermaid princess, and she recently opened up about the production’s updated perspective on the story.

Bailey shared how she felt upon receiving the news that she had landed the coveted role: “Of course, I burst out crying…I did not believe it. I still honestly don’t.”

The actress and singer also revealed how the upcoming film takes a more modern approach to the story, particularly with regards to the lead character’s motivations. In the original animated version, Ariel was willing to give up everything for her love interest, Prince Eric. However, in the upcoming movie, Ariel’s pursuit of freedom is more important than her romantic aspirations.

Bailey explained: “When we saw it, when we were younger, she gave up everything for the guy. But I don’t think [that] reflects modern women today. So [now] it’s more about Ariel finding freedom for herself because of this world that she’s obsessed with.”

This isn’t the only change from the original story that fans can expect. Bailey also revealed that Prince Eric will play a less prominent role in the upcoming movie. She said, “He’s a cherry on top. But it’s not all about him.”

Finally, Bailey shared how the film incorporates her real-life identity into the character of Ariel. In the movie, the character’s hair is styled with locs, a decision that reflects Bailey’s own hair and heritage. She said, “As a Black woman, hair is spiritual, especially locs. It was really cool for them to make Ariel a version of me with my locs. I feel like that’s what mermaid hair would be anyway.”

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