The Little Mermaid’s new Ariel actor Halle Bailey explains how the live-action remake was updated to be more progressive and reflect modern feminism.

The Little Mermaid star Halle Bailey explains how the upcoming remake was updated to be more progressive. A live-action remake of Disney’s animated movie from 1989, which was based on Hans Christian Andersen’s fairy tale from 1837, The Little Mermaid will provide a new take on the character of Ariel. The mermaid princess was previously voiced by Jodie Benson in animation and will now be played in live-action by Bailey of Grown-ish fame.

In a new profile by The Face, Bailey opened up about how Disney’s live-action remake is updating the original animated movie. The Little Mermaid star says the original featured some slightly anti-feminist messages and promised the new version will be a lot more progressive and reflect modern feminism. Read what she said below:


What’s beautiful about this version of The Little Mermaid is that it’s a lot more modern. When we saw it, when we were younger, she gave up everything for the guy. But I don’t think [that] reflects modern women today. So [now] it’s more about Ariel finding freedom for herself because of this world that she’s obsessed with. [Prince Eric] is a cherry on top. But it’s not all about him.

Related: Why Melissa McCarthy’s Little Mermaid Casting Was So Divisive

How The Little Mermaid Remake Is Updating The Animated Version

Halle Bailey as Ariel singing and looking up at the ocean edge in The Little Mermaid

The Little Mermaid remake is seeking to update the original animated movie and the iconic character of Ariel for modern audiences. While the 1989 version featured the song “Part of Your World,” a power ballad with lyrics like ​“Bright young women sick of swimmin’/​Ready to stand,” the over-arching message of the original movie didn’t exactly reflect the values of modern feminism. Ariel gives up her voice and changes her mermaid body for the man of her dreams, the dashing Prince Eric. The live-action remake features songs co-written by Hamilton’s Lin-Manuel Miranda, who is expected to bring his own signature progressive style.

As Bailey explains, the new version is more about Ariel finding freedom for herself because of her fascination with the world above water. While Prince Eric (played by Jonah Hauer-King) will play a major role in the live-action remake, he won’t be Ariel’s main motivating factor, but rather an added bonus that comes with her pursuit of the surface world. All the ways in which The Little Mermaid updates the original animated version will be revealed when the live-action remake releases in theaters on May 26.

More: How The Little Mermaid Changed Disney (& The Remake Can Do It Again)

Source: The Face

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