As we all know well and good by this point in time, singer and actress Halle Bailey was recently cast as Ariel, the starring role of Disney’s upcoming live-action remake of their 1989 animated classic The Little Mermaid. Since then there has been a seemingly equal amount of praise and backlash aimed at Bailey’s casting of the classic character. And today we have word that original Ariel voice-actress Jodi Benson defends Bailey’s casting, saying that “the most important thing for a film is to be able to tell a story.”
Jodi Benson said Saturday at Florida Supercon convention about the casting of Halle Bailey.
“The most important thing is to tell the story. And we have, as a family, we have raised our children, and for ourselves, that we don’t see anything that’s different on the outside.”
“I think that the spirit of a character is what really matters. What you bring to the table in a character as far as their heart, and their spirit, is what really counts. And the outside package – cause let’s face it, I’m really, really old – and so when I’m singing ‘Part of Your World,’ if you were to judge me on the way that I look on the outside, it might change the way that you interpret the song. But if you close your eyes, you can still hear the spirit of Ariel.”
Benson then added this.
“We need to be storytellers. And no matter what we look like on the outside, no matter our race, our nation, the color of our skin, our dialect, whether I’m tall or thin, whether I’m overweight or underweight, or my hair is whatever color, we really need to tell the story. And that’s what we want to do, we want to make a connection to the audience. So I know for Disney that they have the heart of storytelling, that’s really what they’re trying to do. They want to communicate with all of us in the audience so that we can fall in love with the film again.”
For those of you keeping the score at home, Benson didn’t just voice Ariel for the original 1989 animated movie. Oh, no. The actress has kept up the The Little Mermaid flame for years now voicing the classic character in two direct-to-video sequels The Little Mermaid II: Return to the Sea and The Little Mermaid: Ariel’s Beginning. Not to mention, 31 episodes of the animated the Little Mermaid TV series that ran from 1992 through 1994. Plus she lent her voice as the mermaid princess for other fares such as Mickey’s Magical Christmas: Snowed in at the House of Mouse, two episodes of Sofia the First, and my favorite, Ralph Breaks the Internet. Benson also returned to voice Ariel in a slew of video games including Ariel’s Story Studio, Disney’s Arcade Frenzy, Kingdom Hearts, Kingdom Hearts II, Disney Princess: Enchanted Journey, Kinect Disneyland Adventures, Disney Princess: My Fairytale Adventure, Epic Mickey: Power of Illusion, and Disney Magical World 2.
Anyways, we’ll keep you guys up to date as we hear more on Disney’s upcoming live-action remake of The Little Mermaid. This story comes to us from ComicBook.com.