Lin-Manuel Miranda Says Halle Bailey is ‘Perfect’ for The Little Mermaid, Haters Can ‘Stay Mad’

Disney’s upcoming remake of The Little Mermaid has many fans excited to see the live-action reimagining of Ariel played by Halle Bailey. This may be especially so for young Black children, as shown by the viral videos of kids getting very excited to see Bailey’s new take on the character in the recently-released teaser. But not everybody is thrilled about the casting, feeling that Ariel’s skin color should have not changed with her transition from animation into live-action. Some have criticized the casting on social media by using the hashtag #NotMyAriel.

Lin-Manuel Miranda, who served as a producer and co-wrote four new songs with Alan Menken, is not standing for the casting complaints. As someone involved with the film who’s seen Bailey in the role, Miranda wholeheartedly disagrees with the notion that she wasn’t the best choice they could have gone with for the remake. Per Variety, Miranda was speaking out about the situation at the L’Attitude conference in San Diego, and he compared it to Brandy’s casting in a live-action Cinderella TV movie that was released in 1997.

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“I’m old enough to remember that being a game changer for my generation. And Rob Marshall was the choreographer on that and is now the director of the movie. I’m really thrilled by that symmetry.”

Miranda is also ready to stop talking about the complaints over Bailey’s casting as Ariel, now confident that the fan excitement far surpasses the criticism. The teaser trailer topping 100 million views in just days after its premiere online could certainly be an indicator of that. Miranda is just as confident that Bailey is “perfect for the part” of Ariel, very happy with having her in the role despite what some might be saying about it on social media platforms.

“I’m not interested in giving them any oxygen because I know the lives that are going to be changed. Halle is perfect for the part. She is going to blow them away. If that’s the thing that makes you mad, then stay mad. But examine your choices.”

The Original Ariel Supports Halle Bailey

Disney

Don’t count out the original voice of Ariel, Jodi Benson, as a supporter of Halle Bailey. While there had been people online blasting Bailey’s casting and noting their preference to Benson, Benson herself disagreed, as she took to her Instagram Stories to share the following message in the midst of the controversy.

“So thrilled!!! So excited!!! Halle, you were absolutely amazing! I’m SO proud of you & your beautiful performance as ariel! It was so wonderful to celebrate with your family here at #d23expo! And to the brilliant director, Rob Marshall… I’m so thankful for our friendship of over 35 years. Thank you for creating such a stunning film!”

With her response, Bailey said that the compliment “means the world” to her, adding that Benson “made Ariel magical for us!”

The Little Mermaid will be released in theaters on May 26, 2023. Despite the criticism, chances are the film will be doing big numbers at the box office, given all of the publicity it has already been generating.