Guess who's about to be flippin' her fins under the sea. Halle Bailey will play Ariel in Disney's The Little Mermaid live-action movie, the studio announced in a press release on Wednesday, July 3.
“After an extensive search, it was abundantly clear that Halle possesses that rare combination of spirit, heart, youth, innocence, and substance — plus a glorious singing voice — all intrinsic qualities necessary to play this iconic role,” director Rob Marshall said in a statement.
Fans, of course, will recognize the 19 year old as both Sky from Freeform's grown-ish, as well as one half of the uber talented sister R&B duo, Chloe x Halle. The girls' viral December 2013 cover of Beyoncé's "Pretty Hurts" even caught the attention of Queen Bey herself who signed Chloe x Halle to her Parkwood Entertainment label and took them on the road to open for her and husband Jay-Z. Former First Lady Michelle Obama is a huge fan, too, so it's no surprise that hers is a voice worthy of some serious sea witch envy.
Reacting to the news on Instagram, Bailey gushed that her casting was a "dream come true... 🧜🏽♀️🌊," also adding an illustration of a dark-haired Ariel.
Along with her fans, Bailey's famous friends are *so* here for her new gig, too. In the comments section of the post from the Chloe x Halle Instagram page, well wishes immediately flooded in from stars, including: grown-ish costar Yara Shahidi, Halle Berry, SZA, Lizzo, Octavia Spencer, Elle Fanning, Teyana Taylor, Marcus Scribner, Shay Mitchell, Marsai Martin, Lance Gross, Tika Sumpter, Adrienne Bailon, and Justine Skye. Wrote Shahidi:
"THIS IS SO BEYOND INCREDIBLE!!! And so deserved. Cannot wait to see your immense talent on the big screen ⚡️💕"
Not only will Bailey be taking on some classic tunes from the 1989 Disney favorite, but, per the press release, the Little Mermaid remake will also include some new songs from Alan Menken and Grammy-winner Lin-Manuel Miranda. Back in 1990, The Little Mermaid won Academy Awards for Best Original Score, as well as Best Song for "Under the Sea."
With production slated to begin in 2020, The Little Mermaid's cast already includes Jacob Tremblay (as Flounder) and Awkwafina (as Scuttle), per Variety. On June 28, the trade publication also reported that Melissa McCarthy is in talks to play Ursula, the villainous sea witch. (Disney noted that additional announcements will be made in the coming weeks.)
Until anything is made official, however, "Truth Hurts" singer Lizzo is holding on to hope she might slip into Ursula's tentacles. Following Variety's report, Lizzo reposted a November 2018 video of herself singing "Poor Unfortunate Souls" while dressed in her Ursula Halloween costume. "I'M URSULA. PERIOD. @Disney," she tweeted last year. Considering she added a sad emoji in her retweet, however, it would appear that Disney didn't get the memo.
Other fans had previously thrown Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt star Tituss Burgess' name into the ring as a possible Ursula. The actor, who actually once played Sebastian in the Broadway production of The Little Mermaid, crushed his own "Poor Unfortunate Souls" rendition during 2017's Vulture Fest — and fans, clearly, still have not forgotten.
While the additional talent joining Bailey as part of The Little Mermaid's world remains to be seen, Disney lovers certainly can't wait to see the actor get her sea legs.