The live-action The Little Mermaid remake cast continues to grow. The latest: Noma Dumezweni, who delivered a memorable performance in the mostly forgettable The Undoing, is diving into the Disney flick. As to which character Dumezweni might be playing, well, that’s mostly a mystery. All we know for now is that it’s a new character created specifically for the film, not a character from the 1989 animated film.
Deadline has the scoop that Noma Dumezweni is joining The Little Mermaid remake cast. The live-action take on the Disney classic also stars Halle Bailey as Ariel, Jonah Hauer-King as Eric, Melissa McCarthy as Ursula, Javier Bardem as King Triton, and the voices of Daveed Diggs as Sebastian, Jacob Tremblay as Flounder, and Awkwafina as Scuttle. Chicago director Rob Marshall is helming the film, which will feature songs from the animated original by Alan Menken and the late Howard Ashman, as well as new songs by Menken (music) and Lin-Manuel Miranda (lyrics).
There’s no word on just who Noma Dumezewni is playing, save for the fact that the part is “a brand new role that wasn’t in the animated movie.” And that’s good to hear. I’m already burned-out on these live-action Disney remakes in general, but if Disney insists on continuing with them (and they do, because they make lots of money), then the best course is to try something new.
Rather than just make a shot-for-shot remake of the animated film in live-action, bring in new ideas. Case in point: the best recent Disney remake, in my humble opinion, is Pete’s Dragon, which drastically strayed from its source material and resulted in something truly special. On the other hand, the Lion King remake (which wasn’t strictly live-action, to be fair) was basically a shot-for-shot recreation and ended up making a bajillion dollars, so what the hell do I know?
Dumezweni’s credits include appearances on Doctor Who, and films like Mary Poppins Returns (which Rob Marshall also directed) and The Kid Who Would Be King. Most recently she played Hugh Grant’s no-nonsense lawyer on The Undoing, and while I found that show as a whole overwhelming, Dumezweni’s performance was memorable and stood out above most of the rest of the cast.
Filming on The Little Mermaid was supposed to begin in April 2020, but the coronavirus pandemic caused a delay – to August 2020. But since the pandemic was (and is) still around, it got delayed yet again. While there’s not an exact timeframe of when the filming started up again, Disney CEO Bob Chapek announced in late 2020 that filming on all shut-down or delayed Disney productions had resumed.
Released in 1989, The Little Mermaid follows a mermaid Princess named Ariel who falls in love with a human and dreams of a world on dry land. The film arrived at a point when Disney movies – especially animated Disney movies – were considered to be washed-up, and ended up being a massive critical and financial hit. As a result, it kicked-off the so-called Disney Renaissance, where Disney started churning out one acclaimed animated hit after another.
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