“The Little Mermaid” Is One Of The Most Talked About Movies Right Now — Here Are 19 Behind-The-Scenes Secrets You Probably Didn’t Know

    The locs and hair extensions Halle wore in the movie cost over $150,000 and "took 12 to 14 hours" to install.

    1. Halle Bailey was actually the first person to audition for Ariel, and director Rob Marshall said that he knew she was the perfect fit before she even came into the room.

    Closeup of Ariel

    2. Jonah Hauer-King's audition process to play Prince Eric lasted seven months. He sent in numerous self tapes of him playing Eric in different accents, sang several songs (including some from West Side Story, Rent, and ones written by Amy Winehouse), and went to an in-person screen test with Halle.

    Jonah Hauer-King and Halle Bailey

    3. The locs and extensions that Halle wore in the movie cost over $150,000. The wrap process also "took 12 to 14 hours" which is a technique where they took the fake hair and wrapped it around Halle's natural hair, so she wouldn't have to color it or "change her internal hair structure."

    A selfie of Halle in hair and makeup

    4. Back in the '90s, one of Melissa McCarthy's first jobs was doing stand-up comedy in drag. She drew inspiration from her own experiences and other drag queens' performances (namely Divine) to portray Ursula.

    Melissa McCarthy as Ursula

    5. One of the moments the remake recreates is Ariel's iconic hair flip moment. Halle said that it took about 20 tries to get the moment as close to perfect as possible.

    Screenshots from both "Little Mermaid" films

    6. In fact, part of Halle's, and several of the other mermaids', training included weight lifting to strengthen her necks.

    Halle in training

    7. Javier Bardem explained that he didn't even wear his merman tail much on set. The tails were worn to help him visualize his spacial awareness, but otherwise, he just wore pants while filming.

    Closeup of Javier Bardem and Halle Bailey

    8. To film the "Under the Sea" scene, several dancers and puppeteers needed to wear blue screen suits and were then edited in post-production to appear as various sea creatures.

    The cast of "The Little Mermaid" filming a scene

    9. Jacob Tremblay was 13 years old when he first recorded his lines for Flounder and is currently 16 years old at the time of the movie's release.

    10. Daveed Diggs, who voices Sebastian, explained that the voice cast rehearsed together for a month "before any cameras began filming." This gave them a chance to actually bond as cast mates, build chemistry, improvise, and riff off of each other.

    Daveed Diggs pointing to a crab

    11. However, when it came time for Halle to physically film with Sebastian, Flounder, and Scuttle, she was by herself with the puppeteers and a recording of Daveed, Jacob, and Awkwafina's voices. Sometimes, a tennis ball or smaller puppet was brought in as a placeholder for its respective character.

    Halle Bailey on set

    12. A majority of the film was comprised of shots actually filmed inside a water tank.

    The actors in a water tank

    13. Jonah nearly drowned while shooting the movie because he's not the best swimmer and had to wear a heavy pair of boots that weighed him down while he was in the water. The crew had to poke holes in his boots so that they wouldn't fill up with water.

    Jonah Hauer-King filming a scene

    14. Jonah was put on a "standard bodybuilding program" before filming began, and after months of training, Rob Marshall had said Jonah had gotten too muscular for the role.

    15. Ariel's new song "For the First Time," was actually inspired by the score from the original animated movie, created by Alan Menken.

    Screenshot from "The Little Mermaid"

    16. Lin-Manuel Miranda actually went to school with Alan Menken's niece and was obsessed with The Little Mermaid at the time so he'd ask for Alan's autograph. Years later, Alan re-met Lin as an adult and collaborated on new songs for The Little Mermaid remake.

    Lin-Manuel Miranda and Alan Menken

    17. Jodi Benson, the original actor to voice Ariel in the animated movie, had to keep her cameo a secret for four years — she couldn't even tell her family.

    Closeup of Jodi Benson

    18. Jodi's cameo is only a few seconds long, but it ended up taking about a month to film because of COVID-19 restrictions and a storm that nearly destroyed the set.

    Screenshots from both "Little Mermaid" films

    19. Finally, Simone Ashley, who plays Ariel's sister Indira, seemingly got the call she was cast in Bridgerton while she was on set filming The Little Mermaid.

    Closeup of Simone Ashley