The movie will premiere on May 26, 2023, and has received good reviews and much appreciation for the diverse cast.
"The Little Mermaid" star Halle Bailey is reflecting on her experience as a Disney princess in the live-action remake and calling it "a dream come true." The movie will premiere on May 26, 2023, and has already received good reviews and much appreciation for the diverse cast. "It makes me feel so happy, you know, that we're just receiving such good critique about our film," she said during a May 18 appearance on Good Morning America. "I'm just in a constant state of wow." Following in the footsteps of Jodi Benson, who played the Disney princess in the 1989 classic, Bailey, 23, plays the role of Ariel in the film.
Also, the movie has marked a historical moment for representation in the industry with a Black actress depicting Ariel in the remake. Due to the movie's popularity, many young Black girls went viral on social media with their reactions to seeing Bailey in the trailers. The star was also moved after seeing look-alike "The Little Mermaid" Ariel doll. "Honestly, seeing beautiful videos like this every day makes me cry. I have been sobbing every day seeing the reaction of these beautiful little girls and boys," she said.
"I'm just in a constant state of awe and so grateful that they can see themselves in a character like Ariel," Bailey continued. "We deserve to have representation where we can look and say, 'Wow, I'm worthy too. She looks like me. I have a doll that looks like me.' It's so special and you know, I'm just so grateful to even be a part of this."
During an interview with British Vogue on April 24, Bailey revealed she was not bothered by the criticisms and hate comments for the movie. She added she must not be hurt by any of these remarks, given what her grandparents have endured in their lives. "I grew up in Georgia. I'm from the Deep South. Being a Black woman, in general, you just know the way things are and how people sometimes are just blatantly racist," she shared. "My nana is 85. My grandpa's a little bit older. I've talked to them about their life experiences. My nana would see her family picking cotton and she experienced being restricted to only drinking from a certain water fountain and the paper bag test."
"When I hear my grandparents' stories, I feel like I'm the luckiest girl in the world. All of that hate I got is nothing compared to what my ancestors lived in their lifetime," she added. The "Let It Shine" actress talked to The Face about the support she received since taking the lead as Ariel. "I was crying all night for two days, just staring at them in disbelief," she said of the videos of young Black girls reacting to the teaser trailer of the film. "It just makes me feel more grateful for where I am."
Bailey, who began rehearsals for "The Little Mermaid" in London in early 2020, said she shares the same feeling as Ariel's journey of learning to "stand" on her own and discovering herself out of the waters. "I felt like God was lining up themes in my life with the character," she added. "Ariel has this longing for something more. She doesn't quite know what it is yet, but she has to be brave to find it on her own. Being away from everybody for the first time in my life, I loved those themes of knowing that it's OK to be fearful and pushing through it."