TV & Movies

Halle Bailey’s “Magical” Embrace With Original Little Mermaid Is Going Viral

“I literally have tears in my eyes.”

Originally Published: 
'Little Mermaid' star Halle Bailey met the original Ariel, Jodi Benson.
Disney / Walt Disney Studios

Disney’s much-anticipated Little Mermaid live-action remake is finally upon us, and during the film’s premiere at the Dolby Theatre in Los Angeles on May 9, lead star Halle Bailey had an emotional embrace with the original Ariel, Jodi Benson, who voiced the beloved character in the 1989 animated classic. In a now-viral TikTok shared by Disney, Benson and Bailey are shown hugging and holding hands on the red carpet at the star-studded event, before exchanging a few words and posing for photographs together.

“We're all crying here,” the video’s caption reads, while fans of the pair also shared their thoughts on the “heartwarming” encounter. “This is so beautiful. I literally have tears in my eyes,” one user wrote on TikTok. “Love this so much. Truly a magical moment,” another fan commented.

Many Little Mermaid fans were also quick to point out that Benson has been a champion of Bailey ever since the live-action remake was first announced back in 2019. “Jodi supported her from the very beginning and that makes my heart so happy,” one user wrote, while others called for a Benson and Bailey duet, writing: “It would be amazing to have them sing ‘Part of Your World’ together. I would legit cry.”

Speaking to Entertainment Weekly at the premiere on May 9, Tony-nominee Benson described her Little Mermaid successor as “brilliant,” adding: “I did get to meet her a few times and chat with her and just tell her how proud I was of her, and I love that she has a purity of heart and a pure spirit ... it’s beautiful. I’m so thrilled for her and I’m so proud of her.”

Meanwhile, speaking in 2019 shortly after Bailey was announced as the film’s lead, Benson offered the Grammy nominee some advice, explaining that “the most important thing is to tell the story” and take on the spirit of Ariel.

“What you bring to the table in a character as far as their heart, and their spirit, is what really counts,” Benson said at the time. “If you were to judge me on the way that I look on the outside, it might change the way that you interpret the song. But if you close your eyes, you can still hear the spirit of Ariel.”

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