By Stephanie Holland | The Root
As we all prepare for Halle Bailey’s Ariel to take over our lives, the OG Little Mermaid is including herself among the actress’ fans. On Monday, at the world premiere of the live-action remake The Little Mermaid, Jodi Benson, who voiced Ariel in the 1989 animated original, met up with Bailey on the red carpet and had nothing but praise for the newest Disney Princess.
“She doesn’t need any advice from me; she’s brilliant. I did get the chance to meet her a few times and chat with her to tell her how proud I was of her,” Benson told Entertainment Tonight. “But I love that she has a purity of heart and a pure spirit. You can see that vulnerability, bravery, and that courage coming through, and it’s beautiful. I’m so thrilled for her and I’m so proud of her.”
In first reactions to the film, Bailey has received overwhelming love for her performance. Her award-winning co-stars are also raving about the Grown-ish actress. During an interview with Access Hollywood, Melissa McCarthy, who plays Ursula, described her admiration for Bailey.
“There’s something about Halle as a human…she’s so strong. She’s also so open and vulnerable,” McCarthy said. “She’s the best mix of everything you could possibly be as a young woman. As the mother of two women, I want my girls to watch her be that strong person. To take her place, to demand her place the way she wants it to be in the world. She does that with such incredible grace and poise and extreme talent.”
Javier Bardem, who plays King Triton, echoed McCarthy’s sentiments, highlighting Halle’s undeniable star quality.
“She has that thing that only movie stars have, which is you can’t take your eyes off her,” Bardem said. “It’s a constant aura around her that goes beyond the quality as a performer, which I didn’t know she had because I never saw her doing anything else. I heard her singing and it’s great to be present when she’s singing.”
We’ve discussed how important it is to see this beautiful Black woman take on this role, but none of that would matter if she weren’t absolutely stunning as Ariel. The popularity of the original film and its music was already going to make the movie a hit. Halle Bailey delivering an iconic, unforgettable Ariel will make it an instant classic.