Rob Marshall, director of Disney’s live-action film ‘The Little Mermaid,’ talks to ‘Entertainment Weekly’ to respond and explain more about the film: Why was Halle Bailey chosen for the role and the introduction of the “black mermaid”? What does this version of Ariel look like? What is her relationship with the prince?
Marshall said the new version of The Little MermaidAriel is a modern image of women, some people have “old story concept” questioning the film: abandon everything, give a lot, just for a man.
Marshall does not think so: “The character is from another century Hans Christian Andersen fairy tale, but at the same time, the 1989 version is also, in some ways, feels very modern women. She sees her life differently from everyone around her and sets out to follow her dreams.”
He says the live-action version of Ariel is now more “modern”: “First of all, it’s her passion, and it’s important to have that fire. She feels she’s not in the right place, so she unveils a grand ‘find your true self’ story. But at the same time she has to be full of joy, which sounds like a strange combination: naive and intelligent, yet rich in emotion and soul. In that way, she’s very modern.”
Marshall said: In the film, the different worlds are separated by a wall, there are never broken rules binding, and Ariel is not afraid of “outsiders”, she is not afraid of the human world.
After paying a heavy price on land, she fell in love with a human – Prince Eric. and Prince Eric was told from childhood that deep-sea mermaids are evil, but he did not believe that mermaids are really that bad.
Marshall said: the 1989 Disney animated version of Eric is quite “wooden”, is a typical prince image of nothing; while the live-action film of him is different, there is a full character story.
“He has a mother, a queen/queen, which is a new setting for our movie, and his life trajectory is very similar to Ariel’s in a sense, and he feels out of place in his world. These two similar souls find each other and teach the world what prejudice is and how to break down the barriers and walls between the two worlds.”
After the release of the film’s first trailer, Marshall saw many parents of black children online sharing the REACTION of their children seeing the black mermaid in the trailer for the first time.
In response, he said he hadn’t expected such feedback because “in a sense, I think we’re past the age of that kind of thing (caring about race), but then you realize: it’s actually not past. I saw how important that casting is to the world and it hit me very hard.”
Marshall also said the casting for The Little Mermaid included “all races, everyone”, “and we were just looking for the best actor for the role, and there was nothing more, it was that simple. …… Our goal was to find an actor who was incredibly strong, passionate, beautiful, intelligent, resourceful, with both that ‘fire’ and a lot of joy.”
And, of course, be able to sing very well.
Marshall also revealed: other actors considered for the role felt either on the mushy side or on the savvy side, while Bailey still managed to give a sense of freshness, “the moment we picked her, we started thinking things through in terms of ‘how to create her version of Ariel’. “