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Rob Marshall wasn’t specifically ‘looking for a woman of colour’ to lead The Little Mermaid

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Rob Marshall

The Little Mermaid director Rob Marshall wasn’t specifically “looking for a woman of colour” to play the role of Ariel.

During an interview with Sky News’s Backstage podcast, the award-winning film director discussed his decision to cast singer Halle Bailey as Ariel in the new live-action version of The Little Mermaid.

“When we cast her there was no agenda, we weren’t looking for a woman of colour, we saw every ethnicity for the role – we just wanted to find the best Ariel,” the Chicago director said.

“That was all we cared about and she was the one, it was just so clear, and so I thought these people are so small-minded, to me it feels archaic we’re even discussing skin colour in this era – it’s like from another century.”

The 23-year-old singer, who is known for being one half of the musical duo Chloe X Halle, was cast to play the red-headed Disney mermaid in July 2019.

During the same interview, Melissa McCarthy, who portrays Ursula the sea witch, said of her co-star, “Seeing it, she’s so technically superior, she’s such an amazing actress, her voice is just ridiculous, but I think what makes her so incredibly watchable and you feel like you’re always with her is her kindness as a human.”

The Little Mermaid is in cinemas now.

– Cover Media