With the release of Disney’s “The Little Mermaid” remake on the horizon, Halle Bailey is trying to get over her nerves about starring in the film.
The singer – who plays Ariel in the upcoming live-action version of the beloved 1989 cartoon – has been targeted by a racist backlash following the announcement that a black actor would play the red-haired mermaid princess.
In an interview with AND! News On Tuesday, Bailey shared how she’s learned to deal with the stresses of playing such an iconic character in the Disney franchise.
“I don’t feel any pressure anymore,” the Chloe x Halle member told the outlet when asked about playing the titular character. “I think before we started shooting, I naturally felt some nerves because the film is so important to so many people.”
She said she was able to stave off her anxiety with the help of her close friends and family, including sister Chloe Bailey.
“I lean on them and know that I only give my 100 percent,” Bailey said. “I did my best, that’s all I can do. I’m just really grateful to see it all unfold.
Bailey said she’s excited to introduce Ariel to a new generation. What “touch [her] the highlight” of the role has been watching the children’s reactions to her rendition of “Part of Your World” since its release in September, she said.
“It just makes me cry,” the Grammy nominee said. “The fact that all these black and brown kids can feel like they are represented is really special to me. I know if I had that when I was younger, it would have changed a lot for me and my perspective on who I am as an individual.
Bailey was cast in the role in 2019. Talking to Variety that year, she was candid about the backlash she experienced, saying she wasn’t fazed by her online trolls.
“I feel like I’m dreaming and I’m just grateful. I don’t pay attention to negativity,” she said at the time. “I just feel like this role is something bigger than me. It’s going to be beautiful. I’m so excited to be a part of it.
Also starring are Melissa McCarthy as Ursula, Javier Bardem as King Triton, Daveed Diggs as Sebastian, Jacob Tremblay as Flounder, Awkwafina as Scuttle, and Jonah Hauer-King as Prince Eric.
The live-action remake is set to release May 26, 2023, and Bailey is all set.
“I am so excited for the release. I feel like I’ve been waiting for so long — we’ve talked about it for a long time, but now that the rollout is starting, I’m really thankful for everyone to see,” Bailey told Entertainment Tonight in October. “I hope everyone likes it. We will see.”