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‘Thank you for creating such a stunning film’: Original Ariel Voice Actor Jodi Benson Praises The Little Mermaid, Defends Halle Bailey Against Racist Trolls

jodi benson ariel halle bailey

Jodi Benson, the voice associated with a character that sends us all on a trip down memory lane, has expressed her astounding support for Halle Bailey’s portrayal of Ariel in Disney’s upcoming live-action adaptation of The Little Mermaid. Being someone who brought the same character to life in Disney’s 1989 animated endeavor, Benson is quick to recognize a talented soul when she sees one.

Halle Bailey's Ariel
Halle Bailey’s Ariel

Read also: The Little Mermaid: Comparing Halle Bailey’s Ariel to ‘What if Mulan Was White’ is the Worst Possible Example of Whataboutery

Bailey’s depiction of the ever-so-iconic Disney princess recently garnered racist remarks from trolls of the online sphere. Amidst such a disheartening situation, Jodi Benson posted a heartwarming message to congratulate the young singer and actress for precisely encapsulating what it means to be Ariel.

Jodi Benson’s Congratulatory Post For Halle Bailey

Jodi Benson praises Halle Bailey The Little Mermaid
Jodi Benson praises Halle Bailey

At the fan-anticipated D23 Expo, the people were rewarded with an official teaser trailer for the upcoming Bailey-starrer. While many had a barrage of complaints shot at the first look — from certain people pointing out the dullness of the scenes to others scrutinizing the 22-year-old singer’s portrayal — Benson, who was the original voice for Ariel, came to the rescue.

Taking to Instagram stories, Jodi Benson had the following to comment:

“Halle, you were absolutely amazing! I’m so proud of you & your performance as Ariel. It was so wonderful to celebrate with your family here [at D23 Expo].” 

On top of that, the 60-year-old actress and singer expressed her wholehearted enthusiasm and stated how “thrilled” and “excited” she was for the much-awaited live-action premise. Furthermore, Benson thanked director Rob Marshall, who she shares 35 years of friendship with. She expressed her gratitude toward Marshall, commending him for creating a “stunning film.”

Halle Bailey
Halle Bailey

Related: ‘I was just sobbing’: The Little Mermaid Star Halle Bailey, Target of Relentless Racist Attacks, Says Playing Ariel Changed Her Life

Previously, Halle Bailey had emphasized how much the role of the Disney princess truly meant to her. She recounted an experience to explain the tremendous impact The Little Mermaid reboot had on her; how after wrapping up the filming process, she broke down into tears. According to the singer, the entire endeavor “changed” her life.

Jodi Benson Has Defended Halle Bailey Since The Beginning

Halle Bailey Jodi Benson's friendship The Little Mermaid
The two share a mutual admiration

Back in 2019, at the Florida Supercon, Jodi Benson had defended the casting choice made by Disney, which had attracted quite the contention at that time. A hashtag of #NotMyAriel had surfaced across the realms of the Internet. The Toy Story alum, to put matters to rest, had emphasized the importance of storytelling in the world and how a medium that relies on such stories should not look into the nitty-gritty of who is embodying a role.

She also stated that what truly matters is “the spirit of a character.”

Halle Bailey
The Little Mermaid (2023)

Read more: ‘The Black community needs to show up for this movie’: Fans Defend Halle Bailey’s The Little Mermaid as Racist Trolls Call Her Offensive Slurs After Movie’s Official Sneak Peek

Therefore, Benson’s support isn’t new. She has been showing her unwavering encouragement since the very beginning. What one can hope for is the egregious complaints directed at Bailey’s Ariel to cease with time. To jump on the bandwagon of blind hatred is demoralizing the attempts of the cast and crew involved in making the 2023 live adaptation possible. The true potential of Halle Bailey as the much-celebrated mermaid princess will be revealed very soon.

The Little Mermaid will make its anticipated theatrical release on 26 May 2023.

Source: Instagram

Written by Debdipta Bhattacharya

Always having had a deep fascination for content creation and pop-culture, Debdipta joined as a writer at FandomWire in 2022. Currently pursuing an undergraduate Mass Communication degree, Debdipta enjoys the intricacies of cinema and film-making, with a year of screenwriting experience to account for. Besides her knack for writing, she's also an avid reader, a connoisseur of music across all genres, and a die-hard fan of Charlie Kaufman.