Disney's upcoming live-action Little Mermaid casts Mary Poppins Return (2018) actress Noma Dumezweni in a brand new role. Ever since 2010's Alice in Wonderland proved to be a smash hit, Disney has set out to remake a good portion of their beloved animated catalog in live-action form. Recent years have seen additions like Beauty and the Beast, The Lion King, and Aladdin. Next up is The Little Mermaid, an adaptation of the 1989 classic that centers on mermaid princess Ariel as she dreams of sprouting legs and venturing up on land.
The Little Mermaid has been in development for some time now, with production beginning just last year. Halle Bailey (Grown-ish) will play Ariel, while Melissa McCarthy will fill in the role of her nemesis Ursula. Additional cast members include Javier Bardem (King Triton), Daveed Diggs (Sebastian), Jacob Tremblay (Flounder), Jonah Hauer-King (Prince Eric), and Awkwafina (Scuttle). Up until now, the casting for The Little Mermaid has stuck close to the main characters of the original animated film, but now the remake is taking steps to deviate from the source material.
According to Deadline, Noma Dumezweni has joined the cast of The Little Mermaid. Her character is yet to be revealed, but it's noted that she will play someone who wasn't in the animated movie. Over the past year, Dumezweni has earned raves for her roles in well-received limited series like Hulu's Normal People and HBO's The Undoing. Before all this, Dumezweni stepped into the international spotlight when she was cast as Hermione Granger in Harry Potter and the Cursed Child.
A common criticism lobbed at Disney's live-action remakes is that they often hew too closely to the source material. The most blatant example of this is 2019's The Lion King; in contrast, Mulan took so many liberties that some die-hard fans of the original were turned off. It remains to be seen where The Little Mermaid will fall on this spectrum, but the addition of Dumezweni's mystery character suggests some changes will be made. Past live-action remakes have added a character or two to help pad the story, and The Little Mermaid is evidently no exception.
This means there's plenty of speculation ahead as people try to work out who Dumezweni will play. A potential option is Ariel's mother, who, like most Disney princess moms, is dead by the time The Little Mermaid begins. Beyond that, Dumezweni could also play a person on land. Perhaps she is a member of Prince Eric's court? Only time will tell, though the possibilities feel endless. Hopefully, more details will be revealed soon.
Follow us @RegalMovies for all the latest movie news.