New The Little Mermaid trailer is surrounded by controversey


Tribune News Service

Chloe Bailey, Halle Bailey are Chloe X Halle perform during the 61st Grammy Awards at Staples Center in Los Angeles on Sunday, Feb. 10, 2019. (Robert Gauthier/Los Angeles Times/TNS)

Glory Lee, Photo Editor

Walt Disney Studios released the live action movie The Little Mermaid trailer on Sept. 9, 2022. While the animated film came out 33 years ago, in 1989, the live action film will be released on May 26, 2023. The movie stars actress Halle Bailey, a Grammy nominated singer and actress, has been cast as the Disney princess Ariel. She is most recognizable for acting in Grownish, Let it Shine, and a new up and coming drama The Color Purple. On Youtube, the movie trailer has gained over 1.5 million dislikes and 260,000 trolling comments.

Over the past years Disney has been on a track of releasing live-action movies, such as Aladidn, Cinderella, Beauty and the Beast, Mulan, The Lion Kings, Cruella, and now, The Little Mermaid. Their latest live action remake was Cruella, which starred Emma Stone, was so successful that it doubled its $100 million budget in ticket box sales.

The newer version of The Little Mermaid has sparked controversy surrounding the idea of a black woman playing Ariel. A specific group called Christians Against the Little Mermaid (Halle Bailey in particular) and a popular hashtag #notmyariel has popped up all over social media since Bailey was cast as Ariel back in 2018.

Another hate group even went as far as making a digitally altered version of the teaser that featured a white woman in place of Bailey; they referred to her as a “woke actress.” Some have argued that since the author of the original story, Hans Christian Andersen, is Danish, Ariel should have been played by a Danish actress. Another popular argument critics have expressed is that Ariel should not have dark skin because mermaids live under the sea.

Although, this is not the first time one of Disney’s remakes have received criticism from fans. When The Lion King was released in 2019, fans thought the animation resembled a nature documentary and did not let them engage with the characters properly. The live action remake of Mulan also received heavy criticism for filming the movie partly in Xinjiang, the region in China where Uighur Muslims have been detained in internment camps.

In the Little Mermaid, Halle will be acting alongside co-stars Melissa McCarthy playing Usula, Jacob Tremblay playing Flounder, Javier Bardem playing King Triton, Awkwafina playing Scuttle and Simone Ashley who has been confirmed to appear in the movie.

The director, Rob Marshall, best known for directing the film version of Chicago, has expressed how much he wants to honor the original film. As seen in the new trailer, certain camera shots when compared side by side to the original film, show that Marshall did just that. Marshall has proclaimed in interviews that all shots are directed with a sense of precision and purpose.

With over 22 million views and 1.1 million likes on YouTube in just under two weeks, the live action Little Mermaid trailer has already started to make a splash on the internet. Bailey has spoken out against the controversy of her playing Ariel, noting how she had admired the famous Disney Princess ever since she was a little girl and recognizing how important a person of color portraying a Disney character is important to her and her community.

Halle has found strength within her family as they have been her support system and a main reason as to why she has been able to gain a new perspective. As her grandparents shared their own personal stories of racism they have experienced, a newly motivated Bailey kept pushing through the backlash and focused on the positives.