Halle Bailey says her Ariel will be more ‘nuanced’ than original: She won’t just ‘leave the ocean for a boy’

·2-min read

Halle Bailey has promised that her take on Ariel will be more “nuanced” than the animated version in 1989’s The Little Mermaid.

The Disney-produced live-action remake of the classic musical fantasy is set to arrive in just two months.

The story follows Ariel – a teenage mermaid princess who dreams of becoming human and falls in love with a human prince named Eric.

In a new interview with Edition magazine, Bailey implied that Ariel’s motivations might have changed slightly in the remake.

“I’m really excited for my version of the film because we’ve definitely changed that perspective of just her wanting to leave the ocean for a boy,” she says. “It’s way bigger than that. It’s about herself, her purpose, her freedom, her life and what she wants.

“As women we are amazing, we are independent, we are modern, we are everything and above,” she added. “And I’m glad that Disney is updating some of those themes.”

Halle Bailey in ‘The Little Mermaid’ (Disney)
Halle Bailey in ‘The Little Mermaid’ (Disney)

The 22-year-old actor’s casting in the role prompted an influx of racist trolling, with the first teaser trailer receiving over 3 million “dislikes” on YouTube.

“Seeing the world’s reaction to it was definitely a shock,” Bailey admitted to Edition, “but seeing all the babies’ reactions, all the brown and Black young girls, really tore me up emotionally.”

She continued: “It’s honestly been such a crazy ride, and I genuinely feel shocked and honoured and grateful to be in this position. A lot of times, I have to pinch myself and be like, is this real life?”

Josh Gad, who has starred in Disney’s Frozen and the live-action adaptation of Beauty and the Beast, recently defended Bailey on Twitter.

“Imagine being so broken and pathetic in life that your chief concern is the skin colour of… a make-believe singing mermaid,” he wrote.

The Little Mermaid is released in cinemas on 26 May.