Disney has chosen black R&B singer Halle Bailey to play its iconic red-headed mermaid “Ariel” in its upcoming live-action remake of the 1989 classic.
Director Rob Marshall made the announcement Wednesday: “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.”
— Deadline Hollywood (@DEADLINE) July 3, 2019
The film marks the acting debut of Bailey, who quickly posted a dark-skinned version of Ariel to social media:
The film’s score will include songs from the original animated classic, but will feature new songs from composer Alan Menken and Hamilton composer Lin-Manuel Miranda, who has frequently spoken out against President Trump.
No release date has been set as the film is still in pre-production.