The Little Mermaid stars Melissa McCarthy and Javier Bardem, and its director Rob Marshall, share how the film has been updated for 2023.
The Little Mermaid is in cinemas and IMAX from 26 May.
ROXY SIMONS: I wanted to ask you, first of all, like, what did you two make of the changes and additions that were made to this film from the original.
JAVIER BARDEM: Well, I think it's more accurate to the times that we live in, in terms of the diversity and inclusion and in races. And some roles are now played by women when they were played by men, but also it's about-- it's about finding bridges to communicate with each other through respect and through leaving the fear behind. And that's very important for-- as a message for the kids and the adults to see.
MELISSA MCCARTHY: Yeah, I think for everybody, I think, the changes on paper were rather small, but I think what they did in terms of the storytelling were quite big. It wasn't just that Ariel was wanting to go find a cute prince. She wanted to carve out her own life. And I think everybody right now it's like the fight to live the life you choose and the life you want as opposed to the one you're assigned or told you should be having, I think, is incredibly relevant today. And even at the end of not fearing what you don't know or not fearing what you don't see in the mirror and that has so many people that fear causes bad reactions. And I think it was done in a beautiful way that didn't feel like, oh, we're teaching you a lesson, but it really made it feel modern and relevant.
ROB MARSHALL: Well, I felt like there was more story to tell. I thought we could tell a deeper, fuller story, more emotional. I mean, it's a different genre. So you're now in a live action genre. And that way you can do things that you can't really do in an animated film. You can bring-- you have real people there, so real flesh and blood.
And I wanted to keep the joy and the experience of what was there in the incredible classic tale, but I actually went back to the Hans Christian Andersen story. And I saw this beautiful modern story about a young girl who feels she doesn't fit in, doesn't belong. And she really is reaching for a different life and learns not to be afraid of someone-- or people that are different than she is, in this case, the human world.
And I thought that was very contemporary themed, felt very timely about not being afraid of people that are different than you and, sort of, breaking down those barriers and building bridges to another world. And I felt we could enhance the role of Eric, give him more substance. And so we started finding our own way inside this beautiful tale, and it was exciting.
I have to say it was myself, John DeLuca, David Magee, of course, Alan Menken and Lin-Manuel Miranda. All of us together found this sort of new way to tell the tale.