Halle Bailey responds to the backlash over her ‘Little Mermaid’ casting

"This role is something bigger than me"

Halle Bailey, who will play Ariel in Disney’s upcoming live-action remake of The Little Mermaid, has finally spoken out on the criticism over her casting. And she’s not taking it to heart.

In an interview with Variety, the singer-actress said that she’s just “grateful” for the opportunity and doesn’t “pay attention to the negativity” that detractors have sent her way. While many had applauded Disney for casting the 19-year-old in the reimagined role, certain corners of the internet weren’t too thrilled – hashtags like “#NotMyAriel” even cropped up on social media.

Not that Bailey minds. “I just feel like this role is something bigger than me, and greater. And it’s going to be beautiful,” she said. “I’m just so excited to be a part of it.” Watch the full interview below.

Bailey has also received the support of Jodi Benson, the voice actress of Ariel in the original 1989 animated version. She said that “the most important thing is to tell the story… We don’t see anything that’s different on the outside.”

Although Disney has yet to announce who star as Prince Eric in the remake, One Direction member Harry Styles is rumoured to be in talks to portray the male lead. However, if BTS fans had their way, Eric would be played by one of the boyband’s members, Jimin. On the other hand, Little Mix fans have campaigned for Jesy Nelson to star as Sebastian the crab, after her attempt at a Jamaican accent went viral.