Halle Bailey’s The Little Mermaid Praised by Original Ariel Jodi Benson

The original voice actress of Ariel in the beloved 1989 animated film praised Halle Bailey’s performance in the upcoming live-action remake of The Little Mermaid. Soon after Disney released the first teaser for the Rob Marshall-directed film during the D23 Expo, Jodi Benson shared her approval of her successor’s portrayal of her iconic role.


Benson – who is also known for providing the voice for characters such as Barbie in the Toy Story franchise and the title role in the 1994 children’s film Thumbeline – took to Instagram to celebrate the singer’s “beautiful performance,” per Entertainment Weekly. She gave her seal of approval in a post on her Instagram Story, noting that she was excited for Bailey, who makes up one half of the Grammy-nominated sister R&B duo Chloe x Halle. The teaser – which now has over 104 million global views – shows spectacular underwater footage before spotlighting a clip of Bailey performing the song “Part of Your World.” Even more songs from the original film’s composer Alan Menken will be featured in the live-action adaptation along with two additional music numbers from hamilton creator Lin-Manuel Miranda.

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“Halle, you were absolutely amazing!” Benson wrote next to a photo of the star with Marshall. “I’m SO proud of you and your beautiful performance as Ariel!” She went on to call the film’s director “brilliant” before saying. “I’m so thankful for our friendship of over 35 years. Thank you for creating such a stunning film!!”

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Bailey shared Benson’s comments on her own Instagram story, writing “This means the world coming from you!” She added, “You made Ariel magical for us” along with emojis to express her love and gratitude.

This is not the first time Benson has shown her support for the young singer in the highly-anticipated live-action remake. When the casting of Bailey as Ariel was first announced back in 2019, the news made waves. Disney received racist backlash when a person of color was cast as Ariel, who was depicted as white in the animated film; Benson then came to her defense.

Besides Bailey, The Little Mermaid will also star Jonah Hauer King as Prince Eric, Javier Bardem as King Triton, Jude Akuwudike as Grimsby, Melissa McCarthy as Ursula, Noma Dumezweni as Queen Selina, Lorena Andrea as Pearl and Kasja Mohammar as Karina. In addition, Daveed Diggs is voicing the crab Sebastian with Jacob Tremblay voicing Flounder and Awkwafina providing the voice for Scuttle. Rounding off the live-action film’s cast are Simone Ashley, Jessica Alexander, Noma Dumezwani, Russell Balogh, Emily Coates and Adrian Christopher.

The Little Mermaid hits theaters May 26, 2023. Watch the teaser below.

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