"The little Mermaid" renews Ariel’s story beyond skin tone

After years of controversy, the live-action film of “The Little Mermaid” comes to the big screen with a renewed speech that “shows both the world in which we would like to live and the one in which we already live,” Melissa McCarthy told EFE , who plays the cruel sea witch Ursula.

In 2019, Disney announced that it would begin production on the human version of the film about Ariel, the popular teenage mermaid who dreams of knowing what lies on the surface, based on the story by Hans Christian Andersenwhose animated film adaptation was popularized in 1989.

The news shocked fans around the world by confirming that the redheaded Caucasian would be played by the African-American actress Halle Bailey, unleashing a wave of racist comments who questioned the change of identity of the fictional character.

Despite this, the film ran its course and now the film will land in international theaters on May 26 to immerse audiences in the updated maritime history.

“From the start, director Rob Marshall and producer John DeLuca wanted to show how diverse the world is. How boring life would be if we were all the same!” McCarthy recounted.

In a meeting with international media in which EFE was present, Marshall and DeLuca maintained that “There was no specific motivation or intention in choosing the actress” and in his opinion, the reaction generated was “archaic” and from “another century”.

Marshall even claimed to have auditioned thousands of girls of different ethnicities and that Bailey’s performance was “just brilliant”, because she “had all the qualities we were looking for in our Ariel”.

The diversity in the film was not limited to the skin color of a single character, Well, in his cast, the director brought together a wide variety of physical traits with actors of various nationalities who, in the words of McCarthy, “bring down walls and doors” on the road to inclusion.


From McCarthy’s perspective, Marshall’s new proposal was not far behind when it came to refreshing social conceptions of the first installment that have been harshly criticized today, such as romantic love and the autonomy of women.

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“The 1989 movie was about a girl who wanted a boy and finally found him; this one is much more about Ariel and his struggle to create the life she wants and it turns out that she meets Prince Eric on the way, but what he’s really after is a life she can choose and he does the same”, expressed the actress.

McCarthy is the great villain of history and the witch who, to harm her brother, King Triton, Ariel’s father, will try to ruin the young mermaid’s life.

The Spanish actor Javier Bardem gives life to the king of the ocean and in a talk with EFE he said that his character left him several teachings that, as the father of a little girl in real life, he will have to apply in “the near future”.

“(The film) helps you accept things that are difficult for parentslike what true love is about, which in this case is respecting the freedom of the daughters and letting them choose what they want to become,” he said.

In terms of music, the powerful voice of Halle Bailey revives the song “Part of Your World”, while McCarthy interprets “Poor Unfortunate Souls”, both existing in the original version, although the project also includes unpublished songs.

“We wanted to do something new, something fresh, trying to keep the balance between old and new,” said composer Alan Menken, who created the original score with Howard Ashman.

Finally, Marshall, who is also the author of works such as “Chicago” (2002) or “Mary Poppins Returns” (2018), concludes that his version of the story will continue to inspire new generations to fight for their dreams and not be afraid of The unknown.

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