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Alan Menken Speaks On Live-Action ‘The Little Mermaid’ New Songs and Changing The Lyrics Of The Original Songs

Disney’s live-action The Little Mermaid might be one of the most anticipated live-action remakes ever. A couple of weeks ago we got to see the full official trailer for the movie at the Oscars. Now composer Alan Menken speaks on the live-action ‘Little Mermaid’ new songs.

Vanity Fair shared today their new interview with composer Alan Menken. He shared some new details on the new songs he and Lin-Manuel Miranda wrote for the new movie. The live-action remake will have three new songs. Lin-Manuel also wrote a fourth song, but they cut it from the film.

The New Songs

  • For The First TIme – Sung by Ariel (Halle Bailey).
  • Wild Unchartered Waters – Sung by Eric (Jonah Hauer-King).
  • Scuttlebutt – Sung by Sebastian and Scuttle (Daveed Diggs and Awkwafina).
  • Impossible Child – Sung by King Triton (Javier Bardem)

Menken shared that he and Lin-Manuel worked first on Wild Unchartered Waters. While discussing with director Rob Marshall he said he wanted a brand new song for Prince Eric and they decided to write a new song instead of reusing Her Voice, a song from the Broadway musical.

There was a song, “Her Voice” for the Broadway show. But Rob really wanted a new song for this moment of waves and all the wildness of what’s out there in the ocean. [Ariel] represented that to [Prince Eric]; she being the girl who saved his life.

Alan Menken Speaks On Live-Action 'The Little Mermaid' New Songs
– Alan Menken on Eric’s new song

Ariel’s new song For The First Time will be all about her experiencing the human world for the first time, and according to Menken it’s about “[her] singing her thoughts about all the firsts she is noticing for the first time”. Scuttlebutt it’s a fun song that Sebastian and Scuttle sing after they hear the rumors of Eric getting married and they think it’s with Ariel but it’s actually Vanessa, Ursula’s human form. We don’t have more details on Impossible Child, the fourth song. But here’s what Menken said about it:

We wrote a fourth song called “Impossible Child” for King Triton. It didn’t remain in the film only because dramaturgically we didn’t really need it. It was so great to work with Javier Bardem on that song and people will hear it as a DVD outtake, I guess.  

Alan Menken on King Triton’s solo song that was cut from the film

Changing The Lyrics

But that’s not it, Alan Menken also revealed that they changed the lyrics to Kiss The Girl and Poor Unfortunate Souls. Here’s what he said:

There are some lyric changes in “Kiss the Girl” because people have gotten very sensitive about the idea that [Prince Eric] would, in any way, force himself on [Ariel]. We have some revisions in “Poor Unfortunate Souls” regarding lines that might make young girls somehow feel that they shouldn’t speak out of turn, even though Ursula is clearly manipulating Ariel to give up her voice. 

Alan Menken after he was asked if he redid or changed the lyrics of the original songs.

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).

The film stars Halle Bailey, 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, Daveed Diggs (Snowpiercer) as Sebastian, and Jacob Tremblay (Room) as Flounder. Also set to star is Emily Coates, Jude Akuwudike, Noma Dumezweni, Russell Balogh, and Adrian Christopher.

It will splash to hit theaters on May 26, 2023.

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