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“We saw everybody and every ethnicity”: The Little Mermaid Director Rob Marshall Claims Halle Bailey Casting Was Based on Merit, Had No Other Agenda

the little mermaid

Director Rob Marshall spoke up about the casting of Halle Bailey in his upcoming The Little Mermaid. The casting of the American singer in the live-action adaptation of the story of Ariel already raised quite a storm on the internet when it was announced. The hate continued as the teaser trailer became the prey of a basket of dislikes and internet hate when it was dropped. Addressing all those issues, the director of the movie revealed how everything happened fairly without any agenda involved.

Rob Marshall speaks about The Little Mermaid
Rob Marshall

The Little Mermaid follows Disney’s latest trend of adapting their classic animated movies into live-action versions. But lately, most of these adaptations have faced the wrath of audiences criticizing them for not being as good as the classics. On top of it, the casting of Halle Bailey welcomed a whole lot of negativity due to its dissimilarity to the classic version of Ariel.

Related: “Halle Bailey is Ariel, no one can change that”: Internet Unites to Defend The Little Mermaid Star after Official Poster Release Reignites ‘Fictional Characters Should Be White’ Debate

Rob Marshall defends Halle Bailey’s casting in The Little Mermaid

Halle Bailey plays Ariel
Halle Bailey plays Ariel in The Little Mermaid

The whole internet participated in the hate game as soon as the casting of Halle Bailey was announced. Everyone believed that the complexion of Ariel being changed in live-action is inappropriate. Even though it was stated repeatedly that the color of the skin should never matter as mermaids are nothing more than a figment of imagination, the teaser trailer was showered with more than a million dislikes on YouTube.

Addressing all these issues, The Little Mermaid director of the movie Rob Marshall recently talked in an interview about how the whole casting process was purely based on merit. According to him, there is no agenda behind it and Bailey’s talent was the main reason she got selected.

“We just were looking for the best actor for the role, period. The end. We saw everybody and every ethnicity.” The goal was to find someone who can be “incredibly strong, passionate, beautiful, smart, clever,” and with “a great deal of fire and joy,” 

Halle Bailey
Halle Bailey

Marshall also added how this reception was unprecedented to him. But despite all the hate and toxicity, the 22-year-old singer and actress have stated in various places how this role is a dream-come-true thing for her. The original voice actor of Ariel from the animated classic Jodi Benson voiced her support for Halle Bailey.

Related: ‘Snowflakes losing it over a black mermaid? Here’s Idris Elba as James Bond’: Internet is Backing Idris Elba as New 007 After Halle Bailey’s The Little Mermaid Controversy

The Little Mermaid (2023) will be different than the 1989 Classic

As per Rob Marshall, the upcoming 2023 movie will be different than the 1989 version of The Little Mermaid. He reveals that one of the leading changes in the movie will be the character of Prince Eric. In the latest venture, A Dog’s Way Home fame, Jonah Hauer-King will play the role of the human prince.

Jonah Hauer-King
Jonah Hauer-King

Related: “Grateful…to take the essence of me and mix the two”: The Little Mermaid Star Halle Bailey Made Ariel ‘Better By Changing Ariel’s Signature Fiery Red Hair With Her Locs

In the interview with Entertainment Weekly, it was revealed that Prince Eric will have a more important storyline in the live-action movie. Marshall shared that Eric’s character arc will share similarities with Ariel’s.

“The role of Eric in the animated film — I’m sure the original creators would agree with this — it’s a wooden, classic prince character with not a lot going on. There’s a whole story that’s developed in our film. He has a mother, a queen, that’s new to the film. He has a very similar trajectory in a way to Ariel. He doesn’t feel like it’s where he fits in, his world.These two kindred spirits find each other and really teach the world about prejudice and about breaking down barriers and walls between these two worlds.”

Reviews received from the test screening suggested the performances of everyone including the Grown-ish actress to be amazing. But among all, the star who garnered a significant amount of praise was Melissa McCarthy who played Ursula. Keeping aside the negativity, a major portion of the audience who have happily welcomed this change are eagerly waiting for the movie to hit the theaters.

The Little Mermaid will hit theaters on May 26, 2023.

Source: Entertainment Weekly

Written by Subham Mandal

Subham Mandal is currently working as a writer for FandomWire with an ardent interest in the world of pop culture. Subham has written more than 400 articles on different spheres of modern pop culture and is currently pursuing a Bachelor of Arts degree in English based in Kolkata. He’s also an experienced student journalist having demonstrated work experience with the Times of India. He aspires to be a column writer in the future.