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Original Ariel gives new little mermaid the thumbs up

The voice artist who played Ariel in Disney’s animated The Little Mermaid has applauded the casting of Halle Bailey in the new live-action version, insisting the Disney star has the right spirit.

Fans of the original are split over African-American Bailey, with some suggesting film bosses should have chosen a white actress to play Ariel and resemble the mermaid in the 1989 hit – but Jodi Benson, who voiced the heroine in the first film, insists the role doesn’t require a color or skin type.

“I think that the spirit of a character is what really matters,” she told fans at Florida Supercon over the weekend (July 6-7, 2019).

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“What you bring to the table in a character, as far as their heart and their spirit, is what really counts…”

“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.”

Bosses at Freeform, the Disney channel behind the new film, have issued a statement defending the decision to cast Halle as Ariel.

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