Halle Bailey—one half of the R&B duo Chloe x Halle—has been cast as Ariel in Disney’s forthcoming live-action Little Mermaid.
Director Rob Marshall said he spent several months combing the talent mines for the right actor to star in the Disney reboot, but said that in Bailey, the choice was clear immediately. From Variety:
“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,” Marshall said in a statement.
Other confirmed cast members include Jacob Tremblay and Awkwafina, and Melissa McCarthy is in talks to play Ursula.
As for the music, the new Little Mermaid will incorporate beloved classics from the 1989 version, as well as new stuff from both the original composer, Alan Menken, and Lin-Manuel Miranda, who is also a co-producer.
Bailey—along with her sister Chloe—is known best as a musician, but the two also appear alongside Yara Shahidi in the series ABC series Grown-ish. They initially earned their fame after their YouTube covers of Beyoncé songs caught the attention of Bey herself, who hooked them up with Parkwood Entertainment.
This live action joint has been the in the works for ages, and was originally going to star Chloë Grace Moretz as Ariel until she dropped out. No disrespect meant to Moretz, but Bailey is going to kill it.