In case you missed it, the first teaser for Disney’s live-action The Little Mermaid dropped tonight during Disney’s live-action panel at D23. While short, the footage showcases both Halle Bailey’s stunning vocals and director Rob Marshall’s stunning vision.
But there’s one thing that looks so perfect, most people might not even stop to appreciate it: Halle Bailey’s hair.
Forget about the fact that she looks incredible (!) in Ariel’s iconic red har. Hair of any kind is impossible to tame underwater. But in the trailer it looks so seamless. Speaking with Deadline after the presentation, director Rob Marshall explained the movie magic that went into making it that way.
“When we shot this, we shot against the blue screens – so we weren’t really underwater,” Marshall said.
He added that Halle wore a wig cap for a majority of the sequences set underwater and that all the hair that fans see in those scenes, despite looking so real, is actually digital.
He clarified that the CGI hair is modeled after Halle’s real hair though.
He said, “They were working from an actual hair that we created for her in real life. And they just had to make it move in water. So it wasn’t like starting from scratch.”
He ended the exchange by affirming how particular he was during the shoot about the hair. “I’m very picky about it,” he said. “I really want things to look real photo real and not phony. So every strand of hair we are examining to make sure looks great.”
Marshall’s exchange here reiterates what he said in a different interview earlier this year about why the movie was taking long.
You can check out video of the full exchange, courtesy of Deadline below.
The Little Mermaid 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).
Aside from Bailey, the film stars 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.
It is expected to hit theaters on May 26, 2023.