The cast of Disney's live-action(ish) reboot of The Little Mermaid has been filling out as of late, with speculation that Melissa McCarthy, Awkwafina, and Jacob Tremblay are attached to star. Now Variety reports Disney has a lead for the Rob Marshall-directed film, as Halle Bailey of Chloe x Halle and Grown-ish fame is set to take the role of the titular mermaid, Ariel. Marshall confirmed the news himself.
Insiders say Marshall has been meeting with potential actors for the movie for quite some time, but it's been evident to the filmmakers from the start that Bailey was their frontrunner. "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," Marshall said in a statement on the casting.
Bailey quickly responded to the news on Twitter:
The Little Mermaid is currently scheduled to start shooting in early 2020, and promises to incorporate songs from the original alongside freshly-penned work from Lin-Manuel Miranda and Alan Menken. The casting of McCarthy as Ursula has yet to be confirmed, although Disney promises that additional announcements are expected to arrive within the next few weeks. Awkwafina is rumored to take the role of Scuttle, while Tremblay is eyed for Flounder.
Before then, Disney will be releasing yet another live-action remake next week with The Lion King. 2020 will see the release of Mulan and the 101 Dalmatians film Cruella, while further in the future the company has plans for The Sword in the Stone, Pinocchio, The Hunchback of Notre Dame, Lilo & Stitch, and Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs.