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We’re one step closer to seeing Disney’s world ‘under the sea’ as the studio has tapped Halle Bailey, one half of the sister R&B duo Chloe x Halle, to portray the titular character Ariel.

Director Rob Marshall, who has helmed musicals like Mary Poppins Returns and Chicago, made the announcement in a statement:

“After an extensive search, it was abundantly clear that Halle possesses that rare combination of spirit, heart, youth, innocence, and substance — plus a glorious singing voice — all intrinsic qualities necessary to play this iconic role.” – Rob Marshall

People were speculating that Zendaya (Spider-Man: HomecomingThe Greatest Showman) would be landing the role, but Bailey seems to be the outright winner; the singer expressed her excitement on her duo’s Twitter account:

Chloe x Halle grew popular after posting covers on YouTube and were eventually signed to Beyoncé-owned Parkwood Entertainment label, and even opened for the singer on her “Lemonade” tour

Expected to join Bailey in her feature film debut are Jacob Tremblay (RoomWonder), Akwafina (Crazy Rich Asians, Ocean’s 8), and Melissa McCarthy (Spy, Ghostbusters) as Flounder, Skuttle, and Ursula, respectively.

Alan Menken, the composer for the original Little Mermaid film in 1989, will return to make the music alongside Lin-Manuel Miranda (Mary Poppins Returns). Miranda will also be a producer along with Marshall, Marc Platt (also from Mary Poppins Returns), and John DeLuca.

All that remains now are castings for King Triton, and most importantly, Prince Eric. Any suggestions?

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