Today at D23, Disney offered a first look at its live-action adaptation of The Little Mermaid, starring Halle Bailey and directed by Rob Marshall, which is slated to hit theaters May 26. Watch the teaser above.
Bailey said today that it’s the first time she has seen footage of the film from Walt Disney Pictures.
“I’m sure all of you in here can relate to Ariel and how special she is to all of us,” she said from the stage. “Being a little girl swimming in the pool, imagining I was a mermaid, I never imagined that would come to life [like this]. … The three days filming ‘Part of Your World’ was the most beautiful experience of my life — feeling all the feelings she feels, her passion, discomfort, everything she’s experiencing. It was so exciting for me to play those emotions and to have Rob directing me and being such a moving force on this film was really an honor.”
Said Marshall, an Oscar nominee for Mary Poppins Returns: ” I have a special connection to this film. In 1989, I don’t know if you remember the excitement to hear a musical again. It was sort of dead — musicals were gone. Even though it was animated, we could hear people singing again and again. … When Disney asked me to do this, it felt like this incredible moment. It felt like fate.”
The pic is based on the studio’s 1989 animated classic, which was itself based on a fairy tale by Hans Christian Andersen. The story centers on the mermaid princess Ariel, who makes a Faustian bargain with the sea witch Ursala in an attempt to become human and win the love of a prince.
Clements and John Musker wrote and directed the original film, which became an instant classic upon its release, grossing over $211M worldwide and winning Academy Awards for Best Music, Original Score and Best Music, Original Song, along with two Golden Globes, a Grammy and other accolades. David Magee and Jane Goldman scripted the new take, in which Halle Bailey will star as Ariel, with Melissa McCarthy as Ursula, Jonah Hauer-King as Prince Eric and Javier Bardem as King Triton. Jessica Alexander, Noma Dumezweni, Daveed Diggs, Jude Akuwudike, Lorena Andrea, Kajsa Mohammar, Jacob Trembaly and Awkwafina round out the cast.
Development on the live-action Little Mermaid began in 2016. The upcoming musical fantasy pic will feature songs created for the original film, as well as new ones penned by original composer Alan Menken, with lyrics by Hamilton‘s Lin-Manuel Miranda. Marshall and Miranda are producing alongside Marc Platt and John DeLuca, with Jessica Virtue and Allison Erlikhman overseeing the project for the studio.
Today’s Little Mermaid news came as part of Disney’s studio showcase, highlighting upcoming projects across the arenas of live-action and animation from Disney and Pixar. This year’s confab runs at the Anaheim Convention Center through Sunday, September 11.
Erik Pedersen contributed to this report.