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Director Rob Marshall Shares New Details on ‘The Little Mermaid’

Disney recently had a test screening for its upcoming live-action adaptation of The Little Mermaid. Test screenings are a preview screening of a movie or television show before its general release to gauge audience reaction. Almost always those in attendance have to sign NDAs and members of the media are not allowed. However, we spoke to someone who got to see The Little Mermaid, and without spoiling, these were the highlights from their screening.

  • Halle Bailey was outstanding as Ariel
  • The new Design for Ursula was a chef’s kiss. Melissa McCarthy won over the audience as Ursula.
  • The new characters and Eric’s family drama was an enjoyment to us all, and there are lots of new scenes that weren’t in the original movie.

Director Rob Marshall recently spoke with Entertainment Weekly for their 2023 movie preview and he confirmed that Eric’s backstory has changed from Walt Disney Animation’s 1989 adaptation. Confirming Eric’s mother and family are a part of the story.

“The role of Eric in the animated film — I’m sure the original creators would agree with this — it’s a wooden, classic prince character with not a lot going on. There’s a whole story that’s developed in our film. He has a mother, a queen, that’s new to the film. He has a very similar trajectory in a way to Ariel. He doesn’t feel like it’s where he fits in, his world.”

Marshall also wanted to dispel any rumors that Halle Bailey was cast in the role of Ariel for some sort of agenda and that she earned the part due to her pure talent, something he has said in the past. “We just were looking for the best actor for the role, period. The end. We saw everybody and every ethnicity. The goal was to find someone who can be “incredibly strong, passionate, beautiful, smart, clever, and with a great deal of fire and joy.”

The Little Mermaid also stars Awkafina as Scuttle, Daveed Diggs as Sebastian, Jacob Tremblay as Flounder, and Javier Bardem as Triton. The Little Mermaid swims onto the big screen on May 26, 2023.

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