The Little Mermaid stars reveal surprise behind-the-scenes secret: 'Complicated'

The Little Mermaid's Melissa McCarthy and Halle Bailey spoke with Yahoo Lifestyle about the highly-anticipated film.

·4-min read

Disney's live-action version of The Little Mermaid has been in the works for over four years, with audiences finally able to see the highly-anticipated film on Thursday. And it does not disappoint, with Halle Bailey and Melissa McCarthy shining in the film as Ariel and Ursula, respectively.

Australian fans were lucky enough to catch a glimpse of Halle and Melissa at the Sydney premiere this week, with the stars speaking to Yahoo Lifestyle about the making of the surprisingly technical film.

The Little Mermaid's Melissa McCarthy and Halle Bailey
The Little Mermaid's Melissa McCarthy and Halle Bailey reveal behind-the-scenes secrets about the movie to Yahoo Lifestyle. Photo: Getty

'An impossible movie'

"It's technically almost like an impossible movie, truly," Melissa tells us, adding with a laugh, "Just what they accomplished doesn't make sense if you actually kind of know how the sausage is made."


She continued, "At any given time, like, we were always with a team, we had stunt people with us at all different times. Usually, we had dancers with us as, each of my eight tentacles, each had its own dancer, that they would puppeteer. And we were on these rigs, and we're 20, you know, could be 25 feet above the air and then you're like, 'Well, now I want to swim off,' so it's a different rig."

"Every little piece of it was so complicated, but then in a weird way, it started to just feel really natural because we had so much rehearsal time."

Ariel in The Little Mermaid
Halle and Melissa joked that even when they weren't acting, they'd move as though they were underwater. Photo: Disney

The stars joked that even when they weren't filming, they'd still find themselves moving as though they were underwater.

"It was funny, we would just be sitting there talking even between takes, and we would kind of like [pretends to be moving under water], and I was like, 'What are we doing? We've all gone crazy!' We're just kind of undulating!"

Melissa adds, "The stunties were amazing, they were just killing it, there's going to be some behind-the-scenes stuff that comes out, I don't think anybody's going to be ready to realise, this is what's happening at any given moment. It was really fun."

Halle on becoming Ariel

Halle Bailey in The Little Mermaid
Halle revealed she underwent a lot of training to become Ariel. Photo: Disney

Halle revealed with us that she had to undergo a lot of training to become Ariel, telling us, "There was so much training for me, I went through like mermaid training, I worked with these beautiful synchronised swimmers to teach me the gracefulness of Ariel in the water when I actually had to be in the tanks."

She continues, "And then a lot of the stunt training that we had to do, because of the blue screen work and the harness and being on wires so it was so much to think about, but like Melissa said, it was like a lot at first and then it all kind of fades away and it's just simple."

Halle jokes that she was glad she didn't have tentacles to contend with like Melissa, "I'm good with my one tail, I don't know how she was working with eight! That's amazing."

'I cried'

Melissa McCarthy as Ursula
Melissa underwent quite the transformation to become Ursula. Photo: Disney

Speaking about their on-screen transformations for the role, Halle and Melissa both had emotional reactions to seeing themselves in character for the first time.

"It was wild," Melissa says, with Halle agreeing, "I cried for sure."

"I needed to take a minute," Melissa adds. "Like we were all like, 'Oh my gosh, that looks amazing! It's so fun.' And then there was a moment where I was like, just in my trailer alone. And I was like, 'Well, this is weird. Like, I'm actually Ursula and I'm a bit overwhelmed.' Like it was like a bit of a fever dream."

The Little Mermaid is out in cinemas on Thursday, May 25.

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