When The Little Mermaid, the live-action version, was announced I was very intrigued by how they were going to film the underwater scenes. It seems obvious that taking this on would be an incredible challenge for both the crew and the cast, who have to work in both real and fake water. In a recent Q and A Halle Bailey, who will be playing Ariel, addressed the physical challenges of taking on the role.
The remake of the classic musical is one of the highly anticipated movies of 2023 and has gained lots of attention. Ever since its announcement people have talked about the casting, the music, and how it was going to be made. Creating an underwater world is no easy task and requires great physical strength, as Bailey explained in her YouTube video:
It sounds like she had to train like how The Avengers actors have to train to get in shape for their movies. In the same video, Bailey explained that she really didn’t film much underwater. Most of the work was done on wires in the air and with a tuning fork which allowed her to “swim in the air” simulating Ariel’s underwater world. However, she did get to do a little bit of work underwater, she said:
No wonder it’s taken years and will take another one to finish up this movie. The filming seemed to be cool but extremely strenuous. I’d also assume that if they did a lot of the underwater work outside of the water it will take a lot of post-production work to create the underwater kingdom.
While we have to wait until next year to see the movie, Disney did release a teaser trailer of The Little Mermaid. Bailey explained that the first time she saw herself in the movie was an “overwhelming” experience and she gets “emotional just talking about it.” This movie is a really big deal, as she is the first Black woman to play a live-action Disney princess. That plus the amount of physical work she had to put into the movie, it makes sense she’d be emotional.
In the days since the trailer was released it’s become clear the cultural impact this movie will have. Parents filmed their Black daughters reacting to the trailer, showing how excited the kiddos were to see themselves represented. Bailey responded to the reactions by saying she was “truly in awe” of how much love she was getting from the kids.
On the flip side, she has also received racist backlash from people who don’t think a Black woman should be playing the mermaid. But, lots of stars have come to her defense, including fellow Disney princess Rachel Zegler.
Bailey had to be physically strong for the shoot and is now showing how mentally strong and resilient she is while we wait for the movie to come out.