Halle Bailey Won the Part of Ariel ‘Hands Down’, Disney Says

Halle Bailey in The Little Mermaid
Courtesy of The Walt Disney Company

Halle Bailey is unequivocally the right person to play Ariel in the upcoming remake of Disney’s “The Little Mermaid”, a key studio executive has said.

The original 1989 animated film has been reimagined by Disney as a ‘live action remake’ featuring the likes of Bailey, Melissa McCarthy, Jonah Hauer-King and Daveed Diggs.

Sean Bailey, president of Walt Disney Studios Motion Picture Production, said director Rob Marshall undertook a broad search to find who should play the mermaid Ariel for a new generation.

“Very often at the end of a casting search, a director will come and say ‘There’s two people I’d like you to see’ or ‘There is three people I would like you to see’. And Rob basically just called and said ‘I found her… There’s one person I’d like to present’… And we trusted Rob,” he told the audience at the APAC Disney Content Showcase 2022.

Everyone agreed, he said, that Marshall had made the right call.

“She just was the part. She won the part hands down. It was undeniable that she was Ariel… I won’t forget the day of the screening test. It was an exhilarating day. And I can’t wait for you to see her in the movie in its entirety. She’s unbelievable.”

The audience at the Disney Content Showcase in Singapore was also treated to an extended look at the film – slated for release in Australia on May 25, 2023 – including Bailey’s full performance of the iconic track “Part of Your World”.