Halle Bailey recalls her hard work to become Princess Ariel for Disney’s live-action “The Little Mermaid,” including some days spending a whopping 13 hours in the water filming.
“I pushed myself as far as I’ve ever pushed myself in life,” Bailey revealed in a new interview with Edition magazine while discussing her long days immersed in water on set.
Explaining that she could draw strength from the beloved character’s spirit to overcome difficult days, she continued, “And I feel like the message from [Ariel] was to know that you’ve always had it in you.”
To shoot the underwater moments, the film’s director Rob Marshall (“Chicago,” “Into the Woods”), used water tanks and visual effects to pull off the scenes, Variety reports.
In the 1989 classic animated film, Princess Ariel, unsatisfied with her life under the sea, decides to leave her home to pursue love in the human world with Prince Eric, against her father’s instructions.
Bailey says the upcoming film veers in a different, more empowering direction.
“I’m really excited for my version of the film because we’ve definitely changed that perspective of just her wanting to leave the ocean for a boy,” she explained. “It’s way bigger than that. It’s about herself, her purpose, her freedom, her life and what she wants.”
“As women, we are amazing, we are independent, we are modern, we are everything and above,” she added. “And I’m glad that Disney is updating some of those themes.”
Bailey, who grew up playing mermaids in the pool with her sister and fellow Chlöe x Halle member Chlöe Bailey, told E! News in November that she’s thrilled to introduce the red-headed mermaid to a new generation.
Sharing that what “touches [her] the most” has been witnessing kids’ reactions to her performance of “Part of Your World” since its release in September, she said, “It just makes me cry.”
The Grammy nominee added, “The fact that all these little Black and Brown babies are going to be able to feel like they’re being represented is really special to me. I know that if I had that when I was younger, it would have changed a whole lot for me and my perspective on who I am as an individual.”
The upcoming live-action adaptation also stars Melissa McCarthy as Ursula, Javier Bardem as King Triton, Daveed Diggs as Sebastian, Jacob Tremblay as Flounder, Awkwafina as Scuttle and Jonah Hauer-King as Prince Eric.
Disney’s “The Little Mermaid” arrives in theaters on May 26.