Melissa McCarthy brought "drag" energy to classic Disney villain

Someone give RuPaul a call.

Melissa McCarthy arrives at the Oscars on Sunday, March 12, 2023, at the Dolby Theatre in Los Angeles. (Photo by Jordan Strauss/Invision/AP)
Melissa McCarthy arrives at this year's Oscars. (Jordan Strauss/Invision/AP)

Melissa McCarthy's Ursula in The Little Mermaid was inspired by her past as a drag queen.

According to Entertainment Weekly, the Oscar-nominated actress performed across Manhattan under the moniker Miss Y for a time before turning her attention towards Hollywood.

Teasing her role in this spring's live-action remake of the Disney classic, she told the publication: "There's a drag queen that lives in me. I'm always right on the verge of going full-time with her.

Read more: The Little Mermaid trailer: Melissa McCarthy revealed as Ursula

"To keep the humour and the sadness and the edginess to Ursula is everything I want in a character — and frankly, everything I want in a drag queen."

A still from the new trailer for The Little Mermaid. (Disney)
Halle Bailey's Ariel meets McCarthy's tentacled Ursula in The Little Mermaid. (Disney)

Further along, Bridesmaids breakout star McCarthy waxed lyrical about Ursula's dark charisma.

"She's the villain, but there's such an edge to her," she said. "She's been put in this lair. It's like she's had too many martinis alone. Her friends are eels. That is a woman who has seen it, been in it, dug her way back out.

"All my references are terrible, but I kept thinking, 'Many a Pall Mall has this woman had.'"

Read more: 'Drag Race UK' star Bimini Bon Boulash urges JK Rowling to be 'accepting and loving'

McCarthy's colleague Halle Bailey, who plays the mermaid Ariel, previously admitted that doing the job taught her to believe in herself following a racial backlash to her casting.

"It was a big 'moral of the story' moment for me when I wrapped, because I dedicated so much time, blood, sweat, and tears into this work for this film," she shared. "In the process I learned so much about myself.

"I remember at the very, very beginning of filming I was way more timid than I was coming out of it."

Watch: The Little Mermaid's new trailer