How many wonders can one trailer hold?
During its D23 Expo on Friday, Disney released the first teaser for its highly anticipated live-action remake of “The Little Mermaid,” starring musician Halle Bailey as Princess Ariel.
Also among the star-studded “Mermaid” cast are Daveed Diggs as Sebastian, Javier Bardem as King Triton, Jacob Tremblay as Flounder, Melissa McCarthy as Ursula, Awkwafina as Scuttle and Jonah Hauer-King as Prince Eric. Additionally, the movie musical features new original songs written by Alan Menken and Lin-Manuel Miranda.
In the preview, Bailey’s Ariel swims alongside sea life and explores the ruins of a sunken ship. As an instrumental version of the original film’s “Part of Your World” swells to a dramatic crescendo, Ariel eyes the trinkets, wonders and thingamabobs this one tavern holds.
She swims upward, followed by a fish that looks to be Flounder, to see what’s on the surface. The teaser cuts to black and viewers finally hear Bailey, who’s half of the R&B duo Chloe x Halle, perform a portion of one of the musical’s most-known tunes.
“Out of the sea / Wish I could be / Part of that world,” Bailey sings, as the camera zooms out to reveal the singer’s full transformation into the beloved Disney mermaid.
Directed by Rob Marshall, “The Little Mermaid” introduces Bailey as the latest live-action Disney princess. The studio giant has also cast Elle Fanning as Aurora (“Maleficent”), Lily James as Cinderella (“Cinderella”), Emma Watson as Belle (“Beauty and the Beast”), Naomi Scott as Jasmine (“Aladdin”), Yifei Liu as Mulan (“Mulan”) and Rachel Zegler as Snow White (“Snow White”).
Before landing the coveted role of Ariel, Bailey was known for singing in sister act Chloe x Halle and acting in ABC’s “Grown-ish.” Her “Little Mermaid” casting made quite a splash in July 2019, prompting a racist backlash from social media trolls, as well as an enthusiastic wave of support from fans.
In response to her haters, Bailey told Variety she doesn’t “pay attention to the negativity.”
“I just feel like this role was something bigger than me,” she added. “I’m just so excited to be a part of it.”
When the initial casting announcement dropped, Marshall said the 22-year-old vocalist “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.”
“The Little Mermaid” hits theaters in May 2023.