US singer Halle Bailey cast as Ariel in 'The Little Mermaid' live-action remake
Disney's reimagining of their 1989 classic about a mermaid wanting to be human is being applauded for appointing a woman of colour for the lead role
Halle Bailey is set to head Under the Sea for her newly-announced role as Ariel in Disney's live-action remake of The Little Mermaid.
The actress and singer is perhaps best known for her role as the main character in US sitcom Grown-ish (a spin-off of popular series Black-ish) or as one half of the singing duo Chloe x Halle, which she performs in with her sister.
Bailey tweeted her excitement at the role being announced with a modified picture of Disney's Ariel accompanied by the caption "dream come true":
The film will be directed by Rob Marshall, who was also at the helm for 2002 musical Chicago, 2014's Into the Woods, and last year's Mary Poppins Returns.
Lin-Manuel Miranda, creator of Broadway smash-hit Hamilton, will be one of the movie's producers.
In a statement, Disney said the film would feature songs from the original movie, as well as new songs created by famed US composer Alan Menken, together with Miranda, who wrote the lyrics. Other roles have yet to be announced, though rumours are rife that Melissa McCarthy could play the villain, Ursula.
Of Bailey's casting, Marshall said: “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."
And the internet is just as happy with the casting. Social media has been awash with fans celebrating Bailey's new role.
Many pointed to the fact that Disney has not had another black woman in one of its live-action films since US actress and singer Brandy starred as Cinderella 22 years ago, in the eponymous film.
Even Bailey's famous namesake, Halle Berry, has chimed in, congratulating Bailey and saying "we can't wait to see what you do".
Updated: July 4, 2019 09:54 AM