Singer Halle Bailey cast as Ariel in Disney’s The Little Mermaid live-action remake

Bailey, one half of US r&b duo Chloe x Halle, will lead the remake of the 1989 animation

LOS ANGELES, CA - FEBRUARY 10:  Halle Bailey of Chloe x Halle performs onstage during the 61st Annual GRAMMY Awards at Staples Center on February 10, 2019 in Los Angeles, California.  (Photo by Kevin Winter/Getty Images for The Recording Academy)

Disney has found its live-action Ariel in Halle Bailey, one half of US r&b duo Chloe x Halle.

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The 19-year-old singer will play the traditionally fiery-haired mermaid in the film, which is set to go into production in early 2020.

Mary Poppins Returns director Rob Marshall said in a statement that Bailey has “all intrinsic qualities necessary to play this iconic role”.

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,” he said.

Bailey is the first star announced for the film, but Disney has said that more news about the film is on the way soon.

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Marshall’s Mary Poppins Returns collaborator and musical impresario Lin Manuel Miranda is also on board to write lyrics for new songs with Alan Menken. Classic songs by Menken and Howard Ashman from the 1989 original will also feature.