“It was very moving for me to see how important this type of casting is to the world,” Marshall said.
Rob Marshall already thought that color blind casting was part of our world.
The ‘Little Mermaid’ live-action director revealed he was shocked when parents of black children shared their reactions on social media after seeing Halle Bailey for the first time when Ariel went viral.
“I wasn’t expecting that because in a way I felt like we’ve gone so far beyond that,” Marshall told Entertainment Weekly. “But then you realize, in a way we didn’t. It was very moving to see how important this type of casting is to the world.”
Marshall added that there was “no plan” to cast Bailey as Ariel, other than the fact that she has an outstanding singing voice and “a lot of fire and joy” as an actress.
“We were just looking for the best actor for the role, period. The end,” Marshall said. “We’ve seen everyone and every ethnicity.”
While other actresses have felt too “jaded” or “too wise,” Bailey “still had that freshness about her,” said the Into the Woods boss. “Once we cast her, we really thought about how to make that her Ariel.”
Lead star Bailey, one half of sister duo Chloe x Halle, told The Hollywood Reporter: “The fact that I get to represent all these little young black and brown boys and girls that are going to come is really special to me because I know if I had had that when I was younger it would have changed the whole way I looked at life.”
Bailey already received racist backlash for the clip of her “Part of Your World” singing, with 1.5 million “dislikes” on YouTube before the ratings feature was disabled. When Bailey was cast as Ariel in 2019, a racist Twitter campaign #NotMyAriel ensued.
Comedian Trevor Noah opened up about the controversy earlier this year.
“Really, guys – are we doing this again?” Noah dismissed criticism that Bailey looks “nothing like” the animated Ariel from the Oscar-winning 1989 animated film. “No way? They both have the tail, they both have the red [hair].”
The former The Daily Show host continued: “Once again, some internet racists are upset that a fictional character is being played by a black person. That’s so ridiculous.”
The Little Mermaid also stars Javier Bardem, Melissa McCarthy, Awkwafina and Daveed Diggs and includes four new songs co-written by Lin-Manuel Miranda and Alan Menken. The film is scheduled to premiere on May 26, 2023.
https://www.indiewire.com/2022/12/rob-marshall-shocked-little-mermaid-racial-casting-halle-bailey-praise-1234793883/ ‘Little Mermaid’: Rob Marshall shocked by racist casting praise