The Little Mermaid opens up whole new world for co-star Noma Dumezweni


It’s a whole new The Little Mermaid swimming into theaters this weekend. The live action remake of the 1989 animated Disney film stars Halle Bailey in the title role. She’s African-American, and many say the move is a huge leap forward in representation.

“The representation is so part of why I’m so excited to be part of this movie,” South African-British actress Noma Dumezweni, who plays a new character in the film, Queen Selina, mother to Prince Eric, tells ABC Audio.

“Because we have grown up in a different time. And look we all live in a small space and then when we meet the rest of the world, sometimes a lot of us get scared,” she continues. “Sometimes a lot of us go into adventure mode and want to meet other people. But the majority of people are fearful. And so what? For me, it is a fairy tale. A lot of people will see themselves. And for me, that’s when things make sense.”

And watching the film on the big screen at the premiere, adds Dumezweni, was a magical experience.

“To sit in an auditorium with thousands, literally thousands of people going, ‘Wow, this is it,"” she shares. “And that screen and the applause after each song. And I’m not singing, I was like, ‘This is it’s fabulous. It’s fabulous."”

Jonah Hauer-King, who plays Prince Eric, recalls “I got quite lucky because most of our stuff, pretty much all of our stuff we actually could see around us, we actually experienced.”

Adds Jonah, “I don’t know how Halle and the mermaids and Melissa [McCarthy] … did it, because they were in a blue box, essentially. Whereas our palace, that kiss the girl rainforest, you know, that was all there.”

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