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Director Rob Marshall Explains Why The Live Action ‘The Little Mermaid’ Is Taking So Long

It’s been nearly six years since Disney’s live action Little Mermaid movie was announced, five years since director Rob Marshall was brought on board, and nearly three years since star Halle Bailey was cast in the lead role. Yet the film is surprisingly still in production.

While COVID no doubt played a small role in the film’s delay, there have been numerous other factors that have impacted it as well. In a recent interview with Pennsylvania news outlet Trib Live, Marshall finally got the chance to explain what those factors were.

“It’s the most complicated movie we’ve done,” Marshall said. The “we” being both him and Disney. As he explains, the film is especially complicated because of its underwater setting and all the intricate choreography required to maintain a sense of precision that you don’t have on the surface.

“So much of it is shot up in the air with everything on wires and the actors on this apparatus called a ‘tuning fork’ and teeter-totters so they swim and move and turn and flip. Everything is choreographed within an inch of its life,” Marshall adds.

Because of his strong background in choreography, it’s not as hard as it might be for any other director in the same position.

Marshall further explained that the post-production process has also been a massive undertaking. He confirmed that each underwater character’s hair had to be done in post-production. That’s not even considering whatever tails or tentacles each character might have, and how their movement may need to be adjusted digitally as well.

READ: Lizzo Reveals She Auditioned To Play Ursula In Disney’s Live Action ‘The Little Mermaid’

But despite some struggle, Marshall promised it’s going to be worth the wait and that it’ll blow all the other content we’ve become accustomed to watching on streaming over the course of the pandemic out of the water – no pun intended.

“The thing you miss, especially with an event movie like ‘The Little Mermaid,’ is engaging not only with other people to enjoy the experience, but to see it in this massive way on the big screen, which this film is created for,” he said. “It will also be shown on Imax and in 3-D because it’s that kind of movie that wants to be in that environment that you just can’t get in a streaming service movie.”

The Little Mermaid is expected to hit theaters on May 26, 2023. We should expect some first-look images and possibly a teaser during Disney’s D23 Expo, which is set for September 9-11, 2022.

READ: ‘Bridgerton’ Actress Simone Ashley to Appear in ‘The Little Mermaid’

It will feature the original music by Alan Menken (Tangled and 1989’s The Little Mermaid) in addition to four brand new songs co-written by Lin-Manuel Miranda (Encanto). The film stars Halle Bailey as Ariel, Jonah Hauer-King (A Dog’s Way Home) as Prince Eric, Melissa McCarthy (Bridesmaids) as Ursula, Awkwafina (Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings) as Scuttle, and Daveed Diggs (Snowpiercer) as Sebastian. Also set to star is Emily Coates, Jude Akuwudike, Noma Dumezweni, Russell Balogh, and Adrian Christopher.

SOURCE: Trib Live