Jodi Benson, The Original Ariel, Praises Story Changes In 'The Little Mermaid'

Jodi Benson, The Original Ariel, Praises Story Changes In ‘The Little Mermaid’

Jodi Benson, who voiced Ariel in the 1989 original The little Mermaidpraise the live-action reimagining of 2023 with Halle Bailey.

In an interview with People magazine published Wednesday, Benson shared why he supports the changes made to give the original a modern twist and reflect current society.

“When you look at our film, we started in the studio in 1986 and were released in 1989. Times change, people change, cultures change,” said Benson People. “What matters and what is important changes. And, as a studio, we have to make these changes and we have to take into consideration what is happening around us. We have to be aware.”

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Benson credits the live-action for going “deeper” with the characters and says it “expands” the story in ways the original didn’t allow. The film features inclusive casting, a new character look for Flounder, lyric changes, and the song “Daughters of Triton” is no longer included in the Disney film.

“I feel like all the nuances and little, slight changes here and there are very important,” she said. “It’s very important to address what’s happening right now in our world and make it effective for our time period, where we are right now in this generation.”

Despite a gap of more than 30 years since the original’s release, Benson noted that director Rob Marshall still managed to pay “tribute to the integrity” of the 1989 film which, she said, “is just brilliant in a way so beautiful” and is “simply breathtaking.”

Benson admitted that while she’s always felt connected and “very protective” of Ariel, after seeing the new version, she’s “excited” by the outcome.

“I feel like these changes that have occurred, especially with the live-action storytelling, are really important. Its integrity has been maintained. It’s truly a special retelling, and I’m so excited,” Benson said.

In the live-action, Bailey plays the role of the young mermaid Ariel who craves adventure. The singer and actress has been open about the racist backlash that ensued after she was announced to play the iconic Disney princess.

Bailey’s performance in the role has Benson’s seal of approval, with Benson calling Bailey’s portrayal of Ariel “absolutely beautiful.”

“I loved everything he did with the movie,” Benson praised of the star. “I love acting, I love singing and just pure spirit. Her beautiful love for the character emerges. It’s just a beautiful, beautiful performance.

In an interview with The Hollywood Reporter, The little Mermaid director Marshall and producer John DeLuca shared the same feelings about Bailey.

“After that we made sure we saw hundreds of women and great actors and singers, but she immediately set the bar so high that no one has surpassed her. No one did,” Marshall said. “And we saw every ethnicity. There was no agenda to pick a black woman. always to ourselves, but our goal is to never even have to really choose; it’s chosen for us. So she claimed the role and said, ‘I’m Ariel.'”

The little Mermaid also stars Melissa McCarthy, Javier Bardem, Jacob Tremblay, Daveed Diggs and Awkwafina and will be released on May 26.