Who Plays The Little Mermaid?

Who Plays The Little Mermaid?

Written by Mark Williams, In Streaming, Published On
February 23, 2024

In Short

  • In the live-action adaptation of Ariel’s narrative, emerging stars and established actors star.
  • The Little Mermaid follows Ariel, the eponymous character, as she explores the land beyond the waters.
  • It was inspired by Hans Christian Andersen’s horrific fairy tale of the same name. After making a false agreement with Ursula, the sea witch, a riel meets a human prince at a high cost.
  • The mermaid’s quest for humanhood continues despite her uncertain destiny.

After its 2016 announcement, The Little Mermaid joined previous live-action Disney remakes, including Cinderella, Aladdin, The Jungle Book, and The Lion King. The adaption, directed by musical veteran Rob Marshall (Chicago, Into the Woods, Mary Poppins Returns), reprises several of the original’s songs with Alan Menken. Menken and Hamilton creator and Disney colleague Lin-Manuel Miranda co-wrote many new songs. An ethnically diverse combination of live-action and voice performers play several of The Little Mermaid’s aquatic animals. The Little Mermaid cast. Who plays the little mermaid? Read on.

Does Little Mermaid have a trailer?

Yes! There are multiple trailers now. The Little Mermaid released her first full theatrical trailer at Oscars 2023, revealing more of its narrative and characters. The new teaser shows Halle Bailey’s Ariel saving Prince Eric from a shipwreck like the Disney blockbuster. “This obsession with humans has to stop,” King Triton advises her after she wants to know more. “Part of Your World” plays while we see Ariel’s costumes, glam looks, Ursula, and life on land.

The Little Mermaid’s second teaser trailer debuted on February 15, 2023, to celebrate Disney’s 100th anniversary and 100 days until its premiere. Halle as Ariel kisses a pufferfish and swims amid jellyfish in the 30-second clip, which also shows five more mermaids (could they be her sisters?) and Ariel and Prince Eric’s almost-kiss from the ‘Kiss the Girl’ sequence. We first see Ursula’s eyes and tentacles and hear her wicked laugh at the trailer’s finale.

The first Little Mermaid teaser trailer debuted in September 2022. Sea life flutters through the ocean in the just-over-a-minute movie. We soon witness a similar scaly fin swim through a sinking ship. In the trailer’s last seconds, Halle initially appears as Ariel, singing “Part of Your World” as she stares up at land.  The preview went viral online, with footage of young Black girls and youngsters of all colours delighting in Halle’s Ariel, disproving the discriminatory belief that children wouldn’t accept a Black Disney princess.

What new songs will The Little Mermaid have?

On Disney’s For Scores podcast in 2021, Alan Menken said that The Little Mermaid live-action adaptation will have four new songs. Menken told other publications that Eric and Ariel, King Triton, and Scuttle would have a new song that was a “blend” of his and Lin-Manuel Miranda’s talents. Lin-Manuel has intimated that Sebastian the Crab voice actor Daveed Diggs “might rap” in the film.

In March 2023, Menken told Vanity Fair more about the new tunes. He said Prince Eric’s new song is “Wild Uncharted Waters,” and Scuttle’s is “Scuttlebutt” with Sebastian. King Triton’s new song, “Impossible Child,” didn’t make the movie’s final cut, but it will hopefully be released in a more extended edition or as a “DVD outtake.” 

Menken’s pre-chorus lyrics:

Yes, you want her / Look at her, you know you do / Possible she wants you too / There is one way to ask her / It don’t take a word / Not a single word / Go on and kiss the girl.

These lyrics suggest Prince Eric doesn’t need Ariel’s verbal consent to kiss her.

  • Bailey as Ariel

Who is who plays the little mermaid? In 2019, Halle Bailey was cast as Ariel in The Little Mermaid, sparking racial criticism and calls for canonical accuracy. Lin-Manuel Miranda and Rachel Zelger have often supported Bailey. Bailey told The Face, “People don’t understand that when you’re Black, there’s this whole other community… It’s so important for us to see ourselves.” Bailey is best known for her music career as half of Grammy-nominated R&B duo Chloe x Halle. Bailey’s rendition of the musical heroine’s hit song “Part of Your World” made her more legendary. As Jazlyn “Jazz” Foster on Grown-ish, she showed her dramatic range. Bailey played “Young Nettie” in the 2023 Colour Purple remake.

Ariel, played by Halle Bailey, differs from her animated counterpart in several ways. For the live-action film, Ariel is now 18 instead of 16. More minor things, like her telling Eric her name instead of Sebastian, give her more agency in the picture. In the film, Halle Bailey’s Ariel sings “For the First Time,” her inner monologue when she first lands as a human. She murders Ursula instead of Eric, and Ariel and Eric’s wedding isn’t seen.

  • Hauer-King As Eric

Ariel initially meets Eric, a human prince, after saving him from drowning. He becomes her motive for moving above water once she falls in love with him. Jonah Hauer-King plays Eric in The Little Mermaid, having previously portrayed Lucas Ray, the dog’s human buddy and owner in 2019’s A Dog’s Way Home. The Little Mermaid actor debuted as Danny Huston’s son Luke in 2017’s The Last Photograph. Hauer-King starred in Howard’s End, Little Women, and World On Fire miniseries.

As Ariel of The Little Mermaid gets more excellent agency, Prince Eric gets a purpose beyond being a Disney prince. The live-action version explains that he washed up after a shipwreck and was adopted by Queen Seline. He wants to trade with other countries to help his kingdom and seeks maritime adventures against his mother’s disapproval. In the live-action adaptation, Eric receives his song, “Wild Uncharted Waters.” His and Vanessa’s wedding isn’t halted, but their engagement party is chaotic.

  • Ursula as Melissa McCarthy

Ursula, a wicked sea witch exiled from Atlantica, is one of Disney’s most famous villains. Ursula makes a Faustian deal with the mermaid to humanize her. Melissa McCarthy, who played Megan in Bridesmaids and Susan in Spy, plays the antagonist, highly influenced by drag queen Divine. In 2018, she played literary forger Lee Israel in Can You Ever Forgive Me, demonstrating her theatrical abilities outside of The Little Mermaid.

In The Little Mermaid, Ursula has a background and many alterations. In live-action, Ursula is Ariel’s aunt and King Triton’s sister, banished from Atlantica 15 years before. The new spell in Ursula’s contract with Ariel makes her forget to kiss Eric before becoming a mermaid again. Her hit “Poor Unfortunate Souls” receives new lyrics. Almost everything goes the same for the Disney villain, but Ariel kills her instead of Eric.

  • David Diggs As Sebastian

Miranda writes while Diggs voices Sebastian, the crab in The Little Mermaid. Sebastian, King Triton’s devoted servant, watches Ariel. Diggs previously voiced Dos in Ferdinand and Cyborg in DC’s League of Super Pets in 2022. Diggs played Marquis de Lafayette and Thomas Jefferson in Miranda’s Broadway blockbuster Hamilton. Blindspotting, in which Diggs wrote and played former convict Colin Hoskins, is also popular. The animated crab may have more comic moments in the original, but Sebastian and his live-action counterpart are more comparable. Diggs and Scuttle had a rap duet in “Scuttlebutt,” as they try to find out Prince Eric’s bride. The live-action Sebastian doesn’t meet a seafood-loving chef, and “Kiss the Girl” gets updated lyrics.

  • Awkwafina as Scuttle

Scuttle, a northern gannet voiced by Awkwafina, is kind to Ariel but gives her the worst human world descriptions. Awkwafina had a Golden Globe nomination for playing Billi Wang in The Farewell and made her MCU debut as Katy in Shang-Chi and the Legend of Ten Rings in 2021. Awkwafina Is Nora from Queens stars the Crazy Rich Asians actress as a fictionalized self. Scuttle was initially a seagull in The Little Mermaid, but he became a diving bird for more underwater chats with Ariel. In addition to this gender shift, Buddy Hackett voiced Scuttle in the original. The new single “Scuttlebutt” features Awkwafina rapping with Sebastian. Scuttle of The Little Mermaid cast remains mostly the same throughout the films, except for Awkwafina and Buddy Hackett’s differing performing approaches.

  • Jacob Tremblay As Flounder

The tropical fish Flounder is Ariel’s dearest buddy. Despite his anxiety, he is honourable and dedicated to Ariel. Jacob Tremblay highlights the fish’s youth. The actor’s moving portrayal of Jack Newsome in 2015’s Room launched his career as a child. Tremblay also voiced Luca in the 2021 coming-of-age tale and played Flounder in The Little Mermaid. Luca, starring Tremblay as a marine creature who becomes human to explore the world above, is reminiscent of The Little Mermaid. It was unexpected that audiences didn’t like Flounder’s appearance after all the live-action makeovers. According to Variety, voice actor Jacob Tremblay said, “I thought it looked great because that’s kind of like the puppet that they had on set. And then, of course, I watched it last night, and I think it all works well.” Flounder’s character and role are more similar. He is Ariel’s youthful, innocent, faithful companion throughout the film.

  • Norma Dumezweni As Queen Selina

The Little Mermaid movie introduces Queen Selina, omitted from the animated version. Prince Eric’s adoptive mother is Selina. Eric is guided by the queen, like King Triton, who governs Ariel, aware of his yearning for adventure and the unknown. Noma Dumezweni, a Tony nominee and theatre performer, played Hermione Granger in the original Harry Potter and the Cursed Child. Mary Poppins Returns (2018) and The Watcher (2022) starred Dumezweni as Miss Penny Farthing and Theodora Birch.

  • King Triton as Javier Bardem

King Triton, Ariel’s overprotective father, rules Atlantica in The Little Mermaid. Triton, who hates humans, protects his realm and daughter from the outside world. As Hector P Valenti, a singing crocodile’s captivating trainer, Javier Bardem brings the character to life in family-friendly flicks like 2022’s Lyle Lyle, Crocodile. Bardem earned an Oscar for playing Anton Chirugh, a diabolical vagrant, in No Country for Old Men 2007. Skyfall (2012) cast him as the ominous Bond villain Raoul Silva. In The Little Mermaid remake, King Triton’s character is explored extensively. Triton fears Ariel mingling with humans since a human killed his wife and Queen. Therefore, he forbids all merpeople, not just Ariel, from rising. The remake further complicates Triton’s connection with Ursula, his estranged younger sister whom he banished from Atlantica. The film’s climax is similar. Ariel returns to the water as a mermaid and becomes human once Triton realizes how lonely she is without Eric.

The Bottom Line

Sir Grimsby is played by British actor Art Malik, who also featured in True Lies, The Living Daylights, A Passage to India, and City of Joy. Grimsby acts as a father figure to Prince Eric and connects him to Queen Seline. Perla, performed by Lorena Andrea, is one of numerous Triton’s children and Ariel’s sisters in The Little Mermaid. She is famous for playing Sister Lilith in Warrior Nun on Netflix. Simone Ashley plays Ariel’s sister, Indira. The Brit plays Kathani “Kate” Sharma in Bridgerton and Olivia Hanan in Sex Education on Netflix. Swedish actor Kajsa Mohammar plays Karina, the mermaid. Mohammar also portrayed Tait in Viking Destiny (also known as Of Gods and Warriors) and Lisa in Eurovision: Song Contest. Caspia is performed by Nathalie Sorrell, who also appeared in Hotel Very Welcome.

Mulligan, Eric’s shipmate, is played by British theatre actor John Dagleish, who previously appeared in Mary Poppins Returns, Christopher Robin, and Judy. Joshua, a fisherman who encounters Ariel in her human form, is played by Jude Akuwudike, best known for playing Charlie Carter in Gangs of London and Dr. Adebimpe in Fortitude. The Little Mermaid’s new character, Lashana, played by Martina Laird, is one of Prince Eric’s maids. The actor, director, and acting coach has led multiple Shakespeare plays and played Comfort in Casualty.


  • The Little Mermaid release date?

Little Mermaid is scheduled for a May 26, 2023, US theatrical release. Mark your calendars! Disney’s longest live-action remake, The Little Mermaid, was announced on April 19 to be nearly twice as lengthy as the original. The AMC Theatres website lists the new film at 2 hours and 15 minutes. With additional tales, music, and situations, the live-action Little Mermaid should be lengthier than the original (1 hour and 24 minutes). According to Collider, the live-action remakes of Beauty and the Beast and Aladdin run 2 hours and 9 minutes and 2 hours and 8 minutes, respectively. Please let The Little Mermaid’s extra 6-7 minutes feature a new song that will become a fan favorite or classic!

  • Any first-look photographs or posters for The Little Mermaid?

Disney released the official Little Mermaid poster in mid-October 2022, writing: “Halle Bailey is Ariel.” Halle soon shared the poster on her social media pages, saying, “Words can’t describe how immensely honored I feel to play the mermaid of my dreams.” No first-look photos have been released. The stunning poster shows Halle’s red hair floating behind her. The actress told Entertainment Weekly that integrating her locs-styled natural hair into Ariel’s appearance was meaningful. “With Rob [Marshall, the film’s director], he’s so amazing and just saying, ‘I see you, and I want to bring you into the character,'” Halle told EW. So that was lovely. Adding my locs to my red hair was meaningful to me. The suit, fins, everything. Simply fantastic. I’m glad I mixed my essence.”


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