Disney's live-action version of 'The Little Mermaid' arrives soon. Here's what to know. (2024)

Aquatic special effectsallowmost any underseamovie fantasy to become a live-action filmreality –we're looking at you,"Avatar: The Way of Water" and"Black Panther: Wakanda Forever."

So it’s perhaps nosurprise the House of Mouse has turned its 1989 animated classic"The Little Mermaid"into a highly anticipated live-action movie starring a Black actress as the title character.

The new versionfeatures Halle Baileyas the mermaid Ariel alongside a familiar cast of current stars. The first full-length trailer suggests fans can expect a faithful overlap from the original movie, including scenes featuring the shipwreck that nearly drownsPrince Eric,the sea witch Ursula inviting Ariel to trade her voice for human legs, and Ariel singing "Part of Your World."

Disney's live-action version of 'The Little Mermaid' arrives soon. Here's what to know. (1)

Based loosely on the 19th-centuryfairy tale of the same name, Disney’s animated movieaboutrequited love between a mermaid and a handsome prince featured the voices of Jodi Benson as Ariel, Christopher Daniel Barnes as Prince Ericand Pat Carroll as Ursula.

Here's what "Little Mermaid" fans need to know about the upcoming movie.

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Halle Bailey:New 'Little Mermaid' had to push herself 'past what I thought I could ever do'

When does the new 'Little Mermaid' come out?

"The Little Mermaid" arrives in theaters May 26, and you can expect the film to migrate to Disney+ at some point. "Little Mermaid" superfans do have the chance to see the film two days ahead of its debut: Many theaters are offering early screenings and fan events, so check local listings. For example, the fabled El Capitan theater in Hollywood is offering tickets to a May 24 screening, and AMC Theaters are doing the same in select cities.

Who is in the cast of 'The Little Mermaid'?

The cast of the live-action version of "The Little Mermaid" is anchored by Bailey, an actress and singer best known as half of the Grammy-nominated sisterduoChloe xHalle and for TV's "Grown-ish."

Disney's live-action version of 'The Little Mermaid' arrives soon. Here's what to know. (2)

This year's Oscars telecast featured Bailey unveiling the film'strailer. "It has been such an honor to step into the iconic role of Ariel," she told the Dolby Theatre crowd. "It's been an extraordinary experience – a dream come true for me."

Melissa McCarthy playsAriel's nemesis, Ursula the sea witch. The comedian has said her performance was heavily inspired by Divine, the drag queen who found fame in John Waters films such as "Hairspray."

"She’s dishy. She’s a conniving broad,"McCarthy told the crowdat CinemaCon, the convention of theater owners."Maybe that's why I love her."

Other cast members include Jonah Hauer-King as Prince Eric, Daveed Diggs as Sebastian, Awkwafina as Scuttle, Javier Bardem as King Triton andNoma Dumezweni as Queen Selina.

'Little Mermaid':Melissa McCarthy reveals the script switch that 'changed the game' for Ursula

What is 'The Little Mermaid' about?

Ariel is the youngest daughter of King Triton, ruler of the undersea kingdom of Atlantica. Although innately fascinated with the human world beyond the sea's surface, the mermaid is forbidden to explore that realm.

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After rescuing Prince Eric from a shipwreck, Ariel falls is love and becomes determined to join him in his world. That decision puts her in conflict with her father and also results in a deal with the sea witch to trade her beautiful singing voice for legs.

Review:Halle Bailey keeps Disney's live-action 'Little Mermaid' remake from being all wet

Where was 'The Little Mermaid' filmed?

The live-action "Little Mermaid" was green-lighted more than six years ago, but the COVID-19 pandemic complicated filming, which took place at Pinewood Studios outside London and on the Italian island of Sardinia.

Sardinia is known for its crystalline blue waters and pristine beaches and is a preeminent summer tourist destination, especially for the jet-and-yacht set. Among the island's most well known beachfront towns are Porto Cervo, Porto Rotondo and Santa Teresa di Gallura, the last of which was the reported location of "Mermaid" filming.

Who are the people making the live-action 'Little Mermaid'?

Longtime Disney collaborator Rob Marshall directs. His credits include "Chicago," "Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides," "Mary Poppins Returns" and "Into the Woods."

Returning to the project is composer Alan Menken, who is credited with the songs in the animated classic. He's also the talent behind the music of other animated Disney favorites, including "Beauty and the Beast" and "Aladdin."

For the live-action version of "The Little Mermaid," Menken collaborated with Lin-Manuel Miranda ("Hamilton,""In the Heights") to bring a few new songs to the story.

Who wrote 'The Little Mermaid?'

Disney's live-action version of 'The Little Mermaid' arrives soon. Here's what to know. (5)

Danish author Hans ChristianAndersen wrote "The Little Mermaid," one of his many children's fairy tales. Andersen's version of the mermaid's tale was followed closely by Disney animators in the making of 1989's "The Little Mermaid."

Andersen's works are familiar to many parents and children alike, and have served as the inspiration for many movies. Among the stories he wrote nearly 200 years ago are familiar tales such as "The Princess and the Pea," "Thumbelina," "The Emperor's New Clothes" and "The Ugly Duckling."

Contributing: Brian Truitt, USA TODAY

More about 'The Little Mermaid':

  • 'Ursula is everything':Melissa McCarthy loves her 'conniving' villain in Disney's 'Little Mermaid'
  • 'The Little Mermaid' teaser trailer:See the first glimpse of Melissa McCarthy as Ursula
  • Disney shares a few first looks:Halle Bailey singing, 'Lion King' prequel 'Mufasa'
  • Halle Bailey delights young girls as 'Little Mermaid':'Brown Ariel is cute'
  • 'brb gonna go cry':'Little Mermaid' actress gets emotional over doll based on her
Disney's live-action version of 'The Little Mermaid' arrives soon. Here's what to know. (2024)
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