Alan Menken didn’t want The Little Mermaid remake to be a 'cut-and-paste of the original'

Disney legend Alan Menken shares his feelings about returning to one of his most iconic soundtracks.

The Little Mermaid is in cinemas and IMAX from 26 May.

Video transcript

ROXY SIMONS: Coming back to this story in this film like, what did you feel needed to be changed and updated when it came to the music?

ALAN MENKEN: I had no specific agenda for change, but I know that I don't want it to feel like a cut and paste from the original. So that-- what's most important is to just get my feet wet with Rob Marshall's vision and the team that we're working with and get a sense of what it is and then begin to formulate how I fit into that.

There are areas where I just go. You got this. I'm just [? going ?] [? to ?] stand back, and when you're ready, I'll do an underscore to the scene or whatever needs to be done. But take the song as it is. But if we're going to make adjustments, then I'm going to put on that hat and help with that.

ROXY SIMONS: And how did you find, like creating the new songs with, say, like people like Lin-Manuel Miranda, who came in to help with the lyrics? Like how did you find that experience?

ALAN MENKEN: It was great. It was great. I have-- as people know now an experience with Lin going back to his childhood, not knowing him but actually hearing about him ad nauseum at certain points because he was a very enthusiastic little boy. To watching all of a sudden, these two shows in the Heights and Hamilton come in, and there's this Lin-Manuel Miranda grown man. And that's that little boy grown up. And boy, the enthusiasm, the creative energy was so clear.

And then us working together was amazing. We both have our own stylistic notoriety. Let's see what happens when you put these two together. Like, you know, creating a new recipe. It's always exciting to do that. And it was fun to do it with him.

He's very smart. He's very astute. He is a great multitasker. He just-- both have gut-level ways of dealing with things that go between these two brains in the same way. We had a blast, and each-- the songs sort of represent different variations of how our styles and abilities mesh.