The Little Mermaid Reveals the Original Ariel’s Live-Action Cameo

The Little Mermaid live-action poster with Jodi Benson.

Director Rob Marshall explained how a cameo from Jodi Benson, the original Ariel, came to be in The Little Mermaid.

In the live-action remake, Benson’s appearance occurs partway through the story, after Ariel (Halle Bailey) has given up her mermaid tail and become a human. As she explores a local marketplace with Prince Eric (Jonah Hauer-King), she comes across a vendor, played by Benson, who gives her a plate of food and a fork. Ariel mistakes the utensil for a “dinglehopper” and uses it to comb her hair, much to the vendor’s confusion. “It’s literally like passing the torch,” Marshall said in an interview with Entertainment Weekly. He added, “We thought, ‘It is just so perfect to have her in that, if it felt like it could be organic and not too stunt-y,'”


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Halle Bailey and Jodi Benson Ariels

Marshall continued that Bailey herself was excited to have Benson on the set. “Halle was out of her mind to meet Jodi because she grew up with that Ariel,” he said. “Jodi was equally as lovely and effusive about this meeting. It was quite beautiful. I mean, it’s 34 years later. The beauty of Jodi is that she’s so open-hearted and excited about this Ariel living alongside her Ariel. They’re both there forever now. I think everybody on the set was just thrilled to have Jodi there. It was just really, really moving for all of us.” For her part, Benson has praised Bailey’s casting as Ariel and has acknowledged the adjustments made to the film’s story, saying, “Times change, people change, cultures change.”

2023’s The Little Mermaid has earned critical praise for its cast, musical numbers, fidelity and reverence for the original film. The film is projected to bring in $120 million at the box office over Memorial Day weekend, making it the third-highest debut of a Disney live-action remake behind 2019’s The Lion King ($191.7 million) and 2017’s Beauty and the Beast ($174.7 million).

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In addition to Bailey and Hauer-King, The Little Mermaid stars Melissa McCarthy as Ursula, Javier Bardem as King Triton, Daveed Diggs as Sebastian, Jacob Tremblay as Flounder and Awkwafina as Scuttle. Alan Menkin, who co-wrote the songs for the original film, returns to provide the score and a handful of new songs with lyrics by Lin-Manuel Miranda.

The Little Mermaid is now playing in theaters.

Source: Entertainment Weekly


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