Jodi Benson is sending love to Halle Bailey, from one Ariel to another! The voice actress who provided the voice of Ariel in the 1989 animated film, “The Little Mermaid“, shared her praise for the 22-year-old after Walt Disney Studios dropped the trailer for its live-action adaptation during this year’s D23 Expo.
The first look at Bailey as Ariel starts with her navigating the ocean and fans seeing her vantage point as she swims past fishes and sea turtles. At one point in the trailer, Ariel stumbles upon a wrecked ship. She’s about to peek inside when suddenly it cuts away. Meanwhile, “Part of Your World” crescendos, and fans finally get to see and hear Bailey’s rendition of the Disney classic song.
The film also stars Jonah Hauer-King as Prince Eric, Melissa McCarthy as Ursula, and Javier Bardem as King Triton, with Daveed Diggs as the voice of Sebastian the crab, Jacob Tremblay as Flounder, and Awkwafina as Scuttle.
“Halle, you were absolutely amazing!” Benson wrote in an Instagram Story alongside a pic of Bailey at this weekend’s Disney D23 Expo. “I’m SO proud of you & your beautiful performance as Ariel. It was so wonderful to celebrate with your family here at #d23expo and to the brilliant director, Rob Marshall… I’m so thankful for our friendship of over 35 years. Thank you for creating such a stunning film!!”
Bailey reposted the message to her Stories, responding, “Thank you so much… this means the world to me coming from you! You made Ariel magical for us.”
Benson ended the exchange by thanking the singer and actress and sending “much love” to her.
ET spoke with Bailey at Variety‘s Power of Young Hollywood last month, where she got candid about the specific Little Mermaid scene that caused her to cry upon first viewing.
“It was the reprise that I saw… that was a moment where I cried,” Bailey said. “It’s part 2 of ‘Part of Your World,’ later in the film where she’s on the rock.”
“I’m just always in awe,” she added of her involvement in the project. “That was the main [emotional] moment for me.”
Bailey went on to describe her take on Ariel as “fun, passionate and loving,” before sharing what it means to her to being playing the second Black Disney princess.
“I just hope people love it,” she said. “I hope my amazing little brothers, sisters, cousins, my family, my community, we all see it and be like, ‘You know what? We can be princesses too. This is amazing.’”
“The Little Mermaid” is set to swim into theaters on May 26, 2023.
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