Everything you need to know about Disney’s live-action Little Mermaid remake

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A sassy but wise crab once said “life is better down where it’s wetter”, and it turns out, he was right. Following on from the recent live-action remake of The Lion King, Beauty and the Beast, Dumbo, Aladdin, Mulan and The Jungle Book, our excitement peaked when we found out that The Little Mermaid is next in line to get a Disney makeover – finally! 

Incase you forgot the plot, The Little Mermaid centres around mermaid Princess Ariel, who longs to live life above water. She ends up falling in love with the gorg human Prince Eric, which further fuels her desire to live on land and so she trades both her voice and legs to the evil sea witch, Ursula, to become human for three days. But there’s a catch, of course. 

After a deep dive under the sea and exploring the shores above, we’ve come back with a treasure trove of things you need to know about the upcoming remake…

The star(fish)-studded cast

Halle Bailey as Princess Ariel

On 3 July, Disney announced and confirmed that 19-year-old singer and actress Halle Bailey (she’s best known as half of the R&B duo Halle x Chloe), has been casted to play the beautiful Ariel.

Director Rob Marshall said: “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.” Clearly Halle was born to be part of this world *wink wink*.

Awkwafina as Scuttle

Originally voiced by Buddy Hacket, Crazy Rich Asians star Awkwafina is set to play the eccentric, gender-swapped seagull Scuttle. Although we’re still waiting on a confirmed announcement, she’s already listed on IMDB to play the part and we are here for it! Dinglehoppers (aka forks) at the ready!

Jacob Tremblay as Flounder

He’s so darn cute and if there was a list of Disney characters that we just want to give a hug, Flounder floats right to the top. Happily, 12-year-old Room actor, Jacob Tremblay, is rumoured to be in ‘early talks’ about landing the role of the tropical fish (and Ariel’s best friend), Flounder. Jacob is also listed on IMDB for the part, so we’re keeping our fins crossed for an official announcement soon.

Ursula the sea witch

Disney has yet to 100% confirm this, but rumour has it that two-time Oscar nominee and comedy superstar Melissa McCarthy is already in talks to play the menacing antagonist. However after a deep-dive on Twitter it seems there are some mixed reactions amongst the merfolk who are rallying for American singer Lizzo, to play the violet villain. Lizzo has already advocated for a chance to star in the film by posting a full-on purple rendition of Ursual’s ‘Poor Unfortunate Souls’. 

The dashing Prince Eric, Sebastian the crab and father King Triton have yet to be confirmed, so watch this space!

The songs

The man behind Oscar-winning movie musical Chicago, Rob Marshall, will direct The Little Mermaid remake. No stranger to Disney, he has worked on Mary Poppins Returns, The Pirates of The Caribbean: On Stranger Tides and more well-loved films.

Composer Alan Menken, the man behind the songs of the 1989 original film, is returning for the live-action movie and will be collaborating with producer Lin-Manual Miranda on brand new songs to add to the lineup of originals. Get ready to have Under the Sea, Kiss the Girl, Poor Unfortunate Souls and Your World stuck in your head again – plus some more.

The release date

The film is still in pre-production, with filming set to start at the beginning of 2020, but we’re sad to report that there is currently no confirmed release date as of yet – Disney are still confirming the rest of the cast members after all. The trailer will most probably only emerge once filming is completed too, so in the meantime, we’ll be rewatching the animation to tide us over until then.