Three years after announcing that they were planning a live action remake of The Little Mermaid, Disney finally revealed that they had cast Ariel. Halle Bailey, one half of R&B duo Chloe X Halle, has been tapped to star in the lead role.
The rest of the cast is still being kept under wraps, but that hasn’t stopped fans from dreaming up who they would like to see in the film (and some stars from throwing their hats into the ring). Here is a deep dive into actors we think would make live action remake even more magical.
Arguably the second most important character after Ariel, the role of Prince Eric is the next role that most fans are hoping Disney will announce soon. And who better to play the charming prince-next-door than Trevor Jackson? He has more than enough experience playing the boyfriend who has his heart in the right place. Jackson is Bailey’s co-star on Freeform’s Grown-ish, and it doesn’t hurt that he has a voice as dreamy as his face. Our second pick would be Jacob Latimore, who is a heartthrob in his own right.
The stern but lovable father is a tough balance to strike. Terry Crews waded into the water to toss his hat in the ring in contention for the king of the sea, and we can totally see it. While we're more familiar with Terry as an incompetent cop on Brooklyn Nine-Nine, let's not forget his stint as Julius on Everybody Hates Chris.
Other fan favorites for King Triton are Idris Elba and Samuel L. Jackson. We think the following meme speaks for itself as to why Sam would be a good choice for Ariel's hardheaded daddy who is willing to go to Earth's ends to save his baby girl. And we’ve seen Idris play the loving father in Daddy’s Little Girls. Either way, anyone who winds up in this role will definitely need some BDE: Big Daddy Energy.
Bringing to life one of Disney’s most iconic villains is a tall order. Anyone stepping into Ursula’s shoes, err, tentacles has some big ones to fill. Forget triple threat. We need somebody who not only nails the bodacious look of the sea witch but has her disarming presence, wicked sense of humor, operatic vocals and an ego that rivals the size of the Atlantic Ocean — which is what makes Queen Latifah our front runner. The rap icon has proved herself as a leading lady, a rom-com queen, and a street tough bad mama jama.
The only other person we, and the rest of the internet, will concede the role to is Lizzo, who made a strong case by presenting a video of herself in full costume singing “Poor Unfortunate Souls” that had us all blown away. Imagine her snazzy vocals from "Truth Hurts" mixed with the Disney classic. Eargasmic!
Elephant Man would bring a lot to this film, and it would be nice to see him and Lin-Manuel Miranda, who has been tapped to co-produce and compose music for the film, team up on at least one track for the musical. Sebastian is a maestro, after all. "Whine Up" is stuck in our heads after all the years, so imagine the magic he will bring to the musical. We’re already imagining “Under the Sea” and “Kiss the Girl” over a dutty beat. It’s also the perfect opportunity for Disney to pay homage to Sebastian’s Jamaican roots.
But if Disney is solely going for actors and wants to keep his Trinidadian accent, Winston Duke has the background and the perfect voice for doing Sebastian justice. And beneath his tough exterior, Sebastian is a total softie, just like Winston.
We all love us some Jack from Black-ish, and let's be honest, Jack is basically Flounder. He's curious, eager and always willing to try out new things when he isn't being roped into trouble. Miles has history with Disney and the boyish charm that offsets Ariel's impulses.
Someone else who is familiar with playing the reluctant accomplice/supportive bestie would be Tyler James Williams, who effortlessly held his own on Everybody Hates Chris.
We’ve seen Keegan-Micheal play all types of off-kilter characters in his sketch comedy, so an eccentric seagull is right in his wheelhouse. Remember the Dinkles? It’s the kind of offbeat humor that's down Disney's alley.
But if he’s too tied up with The Lion King, Lin Manuel is someone who can voice Ariel’s well-intentioned teacher of all things human. Lin works best when he's part of an ensemble, and is already on board as a co-producer, so it’s easy work for Disney to cast him. He was a standout as Mary Poppins' enchanting sidekick in Mary Poppins Returns, so he knows a thing or two about bringing any role to life.
It would be interesting to see what energy Ving could bring from Mission Impossible as a soft-spoken and down-to-business accomplice to Tom Cruise’s brash and impulsive Ethan. He’s also the special agent’s closest friend who always has an ear to lend Ethan before he gets into trouble, so it would be interesting to see what energy he would bring to a similarly subdued role as the Prince’s confidant.
Chris Rock could also fill in as the Prince’s confidant. He was the voice of reason as Marty the Zebra in Madagascar. He brought a lot of heart to the role, so it would be interesting to see his take as the loving manservant who is wholly devoted to the Prince no matter how vexed he gets.
Kenan played Pierre Escargot in All That and blessed us with cult classic Good Burger, so this role is practically a match made in heaven. Just imagine “Welcome to King’s Palace, home of the best seafood ever.”
Let us know who you would like to see cast in The Little Mermaid!
Photo Credits: Disney, John Shearer/Getty Images for dcp/ Robin L Marshall/Getty Images Amanda Edwards/WireImage, Brad Barket/WireImage, Frazer Harrison/Getty Images, Michael Tran/FilmMagic, Jared Wickerham/Getty Images, Ethan Miller/Getty Images)
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