“The Little Mermaid,” Walt Disney Animation Studios’ 28th animated film, has been transformed into a live-action feature from “Chicago” and “Mary Poppins Returns” director Rob Marshall. And Disney just released a new look at the upcoming feature and gave us the first glimpse at Melissa McCarthy’s Ursula (watch below).
Set to the tune of “Part of Your World,” sung beautifully by our new Ariel, Halle Bailey, the 30 second clip shows bits from that song’s big number (Disney played the whole thing at last year’s D23 Expo, a sort of Comic-Con for Disney nerds), along with what appear to be moments ripped from the “Daughters of Triton,” “Under the Sea” and “Kiss the Girl” numbers. (Prince Eric is played by English actor Jonah Hauer-King.) The kicker is our first look at this movie’s version of Ursula, played by Melissa McCarthy, with the entire spot capped by that perfect McCarthy cackle.
Visually, this version of “The Little Mermaid” it applying the “eerily lifelike” approach of recent Disney live-action remakes, so brace yourself for Sebastian (voiced by Daveed Diggs) singing “Under the Sea” with his creepy mandibles. We just hope that it can capture the life and spirit of the original film, since too often the vitality that made the original animated features such classics is washed away by overly complicated visuals and a smooth, machined sense of nostalgia.
This new iteration features an absolutely stacked cast and, besides Bailey, Hauer-King, Diggs and McCarthy, includes Javier Bardem as King Triton, Noma Dumezweni as a new character Queen Selina, Jacob Tremblay as Flounder, and Awkwafina as Scuttle. In addition to the beloved songs from Howard Ashman and Alan Menken, there are new songs Menken wrote with Lin-Manuel Miranda (who also produces). Menken also, once again, provided the score.
“The Little Mermaid” splashes into theaters on May 26.