When Disney announced that they were casting singer Halle Bailey as Ariel, there was a range of mixed responses to the news. However, the original actress who portrayed Ariel, Jodi Benson has now spoken out on how she feels about the casting decision.
“I think that the spirit of a character is what really matters. What you bring to the table in a character as far as their heart, and their spirit, is what really counts. And the outside package — cause let’s face it, I’m really, really old — and so when I’m singing ‘Part of Your World,’ if you were to judge me on the way that I look on the outside, it might change the way that you interpret the song. But if you close your eyes, you can still hear the spirit of Ariel.”
The main ‘issue’ that many seem to have with Halle’s role is in regards to her skin colour. Many fans are worried that due to the change in her looks, she won’t look the same as the character that they have grown up with.
Jodi continued in response to this, “We need to be storytellers. And no matter what we look like on the outside, no matter our race, our nation, the color of our skin, our dialect, whether I’m tall or thin, whether I’m overweight or underweight, or my hair is whatever color, we really need to tell the story. And that’s what we want to do, we want to make a connection to the audience. So I know for Disney that they have the heart of storytelling, that’s really what they’re trying to do. They want to communicate with all of us in the audience so that we can fall in love with the film again.”
We can’t help but agree. More than anyone, Jodi should be the one that has any say in who portrays the character that sky-rocketed her career and no double lives on in her heart as much as it does with everyone else’s.