Who is Disney's new live-action 'Little Mermaid' star Halle Bailey?

Tom Beasley
Contributor
Halle Bailey attends the Walt Disney Television 2019 upfront at Tavern on The Green on Tuesday, May 14, 2019, in New York. (Photo by Evan Agostini/Invision/AP)

She might never have taken on a leading movie role before, but R&B singer Halle Bailey has been catapulted into the spotlight by Disney’s announcement that she will portray Ariel in a live-action remake of The Little Mermaid.

Rob Marshall’s adaptation of the 1989 classic will see Bailey take on the role played in that film by Jodi Benson as a teenage mermaid who falls for a human man.

Read more: Disney praised for Ariel casting

Apart from having a name so similar to Halle Berry’s that the Oscar winner chipped in with a comment on Twitter, the 19-year-old is a rising star of the music scene who can credit her success to a certain pop superstar.

Bailey and her older sister Chloe rose to fame after performing covers of pop songs on YouTube. When their version of Beyoncé’s 2014 hit Pretty Hurts went viral, the duo drew the attention of the woman herself.

Soon the duo, performing under the name Chloe x Halle, were signed by Beyoncé’s management company Parkwood Entertainment and made a cameo in her 2016 visual album Lemonade.

A number of EPs soon followed and the pair performed America the Beautiful at the SuperBowl earlier this year, as well as opening for Beyoncé and her husband Jay-Z on various tours.

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The duo have appeared on a number of movie soundtracks, including providing original song Warrior for Disney blockbuster A Wrinkle in Time.

Both have also taken on acting work, with the duo appearing together in Queen Latifah vehicle Last Holiday in 2006, as well as in recurring roles on Black-ish spin-off series Grown-ish.

The Little Mermaid is certainly the biggest role either of them have taken on to date, and Bailey took to their official Twitter account to describe the job as a “dream come true”.

Disney will be hoping The Little Mermaid will be its latest live-action remake success, with Dumbo and Aladdin already scoring solid numbers for them in 2019 and The Lion King waiting in the wings.

Veteran Disney composer Alan Menken will join forces with Hamilton star Lin-Manuel Miranda to pen new music for the movie, after Miranda previously contributed songs to Disney hit Moana.

Read more: Most-streamed Disney songs revealed

Director Rob Marshall has years of experience in movie musicals, having helmed the Oscar-winning Chicago, as well as directing Into the Woods and last year’s Mary Poppins Returns for Disney.

The Little Mermaid does not currently have a release date, though it is due to begin shooting in 2020.