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The Little Mermaid star hails film’s diverse cast as a ‘beautiful melting pot’

The star of Disney’s new live-action remake of The Little Mermaid has hailed the film’s diverse cast as a “beautiful melting pot”.

Halle Bailey, who plays Ariel in the film, said being an inspiration for other black and brown children was “spectacular”.

The film, set for release on May 26, also stars Javier Bardem and Melissa McCarthy.

Speaking at the London premiere of the film on Monday, Bailey told the PA news agency: “It’s so important.

“I mean, the fact that I’m able to represent for Ariel and for my community – for all the black and brown little girls and boys to be able to see themselves as a Disney princess – is spectacular.

“Then there’s the rest of the amazing diverse cast – Javier and Melissa – it’s a beautiful melting pot of what we all represent.

UK Premiere of The Little Mermaid – London
Melissa McCarthy and Halle Bailey (Ian West/PA)

“It’s stunning. I’m just so excited that people are going to be able to see it.”

McCarthy, who plays the evil sea-queen Ursula, said it was necessary to “embrace” diversity and “realise that our differences are actually what can bring us together”.

“It’s the world we live in,” she told PA.

“People want to see stories that represent them.

UK Premiere of The Little Mermaid – London
Javier Bardem (Ian West/PA)

“This is what our world looks like (and) thank goodness. How incredibly boring if we all looked like carbon copies.

“We need to embrace it, and not be afraid of it, and then realise that our differences are actually what can bring us together.”

Bardem, who plays Ariel’s father King Triton, also acknowledged the responsibility of bringing out a “different side” to a classic story “without losing the original flavour”.

UK Premiere of The Little Mermaid – London
(left to right) Jonah Hauer-King, Jacob Tremblay, Melissa McCarthy, Halle Bailey, Rob Marshall, Javier Bardem and Daveed Diggs (Ian West/PA)

“You are creating this story that lives in so many people’s hearts and memories after all these years from the classic. So this is a different responsibility,” he told PA.

“You don’t want to upset anyone, but at the same time you have to do what you are asked to do, which is bringing a different side of it, a different colour to it, without losing the original flavour.”

British actor Jonah Hauer-King also appears in the remake in the role of Prince Eric, alongside Daveed Diggs and Rob Marshall.

Scores of famous faces descended on Leicester Square in London on Monday for the premiere, including Guy Ritchie, Stanley Tucci, Laura Whitmore, and rapper Stormzy.

The Little Mermaid is due to arrive in UK cinemas on May 26 2023.