Adapted from the 1837 short story by Hans Christian Andersen, The little Mermaid is one of Disney’s most famous animated features, which has become a worldwide phenomenon since its launch. A live-action remake of the film is currently in the works, with singer-actress Halle Bailey from Chloe x Halle to play Ariel.

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Despite having been around since 1989, there may be things about The little Mermaid that are not common knowledge among more casual fans of the film, including its differences from Andersen’s version, its impact, its sequels, its connections to Broadway … and the fact that the movie was almost never made.

10 The film closely follows the original story, but takes great liberties

Audiobook cover The Little Mermaid

Disney plot The little Mermaid it remains quite faithful to Hans Christian Andersen’s version, even closely adapting some scenes and paraphrasing certain dialogues.

However, no names are given in Andersen’s history, and the Little Mermaid’s sisters play a much larger role. Triton, called “the King of the Sea,” is largely absent, with a more supportive grandmother character assuming his role. “Ursula”, or “the witch of the sea”, removes the voice of the mermaid cutting her tongue, and the prince never falls in love with “Ariel”, but marries a princess of the earth (although not with “Vanessa” ), which causes the mermaid’s body to start to foam until the creatures of the air rescue her.

9 It spawned two more movies and an animated series

The Little Mermaid II and III

The little Mermaid It wasn’t the end of Ariel’s story. In 1992, a cartoon of the same name followed Ariel’s exploits before the events of the original film. Then in 2000, Disney released the direct-to-video sequel. The Little Mermaid II: Return to the Sea, which featured Ariel and Eric’s daughter, Melody. Finally, 2008 returned to Ariel’s past in The Little Mermaid: The Beginnings of Ariel, in which the heroine defied a ban her father had imposed on music.

The little Mermaid the characters have also been guest stars on shows, movies, and games. Sebastian, for example, appeared in Disney cartoons Raw toonage and its spin-off, Marsupilami.

8 Ariel’s voice actress has played many other famous roles … including Barbie

Barbie in Toy Story 3

Ariel may be the signature role of Jodi Benson, but she has also voiced several other notable characters. She played the titular title role in Thumbelina, Tula in Pirates of dark water and Aquagirl in Future Batman. He also provided the voice for the Weebo robot in Flubber.

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Additionally, Benson lent her voice to two famous Mattel dolls, including PJ Sparkles and, most famously, Barbie. She has played Barbie for Disney since Toy story 2, but he actually began to voice the character in the non-Disney short film. Dance! Training with Barbie, which also featured a young Jennifer Love Hewitt. For Disney, Benson also played Helen of Troy in the Hercules Cartoon.

7 Pat Carroll played Ursula and her sister, Morgana

Ursula and Morgana from The Little Mermaid movies

The little Mermaid The villain Ursula quickly became loved thanks to the spectacular performance of her voice actress, Pat Carroll. It was so memorable that imagining future installments of the Ariel story without the fan-favorite antagonist and her actress seemed criminal, even though Ursula had been murdered in the original film. The first sequel, The Little Mermaid II: Return to the Sea, came up with a clever solution by bringing back Carroll as Ursula’s sister, Morgana.

Equally cruel and theatrical, Morgana immediately established herself as a worthy successor to her evil sister by using the life of Ariel’s daughter Melody as a bargaining chip for Poseidon’s trident.

6 Splash almost led to a blonde Ariel … and a non-produced sequel nearly got the film canceled

Tom Hanks and Daryl Hannah in Splash

The little Mermaid It is possibly the most famous Disney movie about mermaids, but it was not the first. That honor goes to Splash, the 1984 live-action film starring Tom Hanks and Daryl Hannah. Splash created a specific image for mermaids in the heads of certain viewers, including Disney President Jeffrey Katzenberg, who originally felt Ariel, as Splashing Mermaid Madison, she should be blonde.

The success of Splash had prompted Disney to begin developing a sequel at that time. The little Mermaid was hosted by co-writer Ron Clements. Fortunately, the force of Clements’s treatment convinced Katzenberg to produce The little Mermaid regardless of the similarities, while the Splash the sequel was eventually dropped.

5 Some scenes were inspired by night work at the Bald Mountain designer

Before the Disney version The little Mermaid that everyone knows existed, another much shorter variation of the story had been in the works as part of the movie. The Life of Hans Christian Andersen. The unfinished biopic would have included short animated adaptations of various works by Andersen, including the author’s famous mermaid tale.

After people working on the full version of The little Mermaid learned about the archived project, used drawing images Kay Nielsen, designer of Fantasy “Night on Bald Mountain” had appeared for the biopic segment “The Little Mermaid”, especially during the storm scene in which Ariel rescued Prince Eric.

4 The music was co-written by the creators who made Little Shop Of Horrors a musical

the little shop of horrors

The little Mermaid it is often cited as having brought a Broadway sensibility to Disney animated films, and rightly so. Howard Ashman (who had worked with Jodi Benson on the play Smile) and Alan Menken had taken the film directed by Roger Corman the Little Shop of Horrors and turned it into a popular musical, for which Ashman also wrote the script.

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At Disney, Ashman worked on several movies, starting with Oliver & Company, and met with Menken to create an award-winning score for The little Mermaid. Ashman also rewrote some key moments with Sebastian, along with the scene where Triton transforms Ariel’s tail into legs.

3 Sebastián’s actor was also Mufasa in the musical The Lion King

Sebastian and the lion king musical

Many people involved in The little Mermaid He came from the world of Broadway, including Howard Ashman, Jodi Benson and Samuel E. Wright, the last of whom played the role of Sebastian. Wright used his skills as a musical theater performer to not only make Sebastian one of the film’s most memorable characters (even improvising several lines), but he also played another Disney icon, Mufasa, in the Broadway stage production. of The Lion King.

Wright also played other animated film roles for Disney. In 2000 Dinosaur, expressed the Iguanadon Kron, a more conflictive character than Sebastian.

two Ariel was based on Sally Ride, Sherri Stone and Alyssa Milano, while Ursula was inspired by Divine

Ariel’s design has several inspirations, including animator Glen Keane’s wife, Linda. To convincingly portray Ariel underwater, Disney referenced space images of astronaut Sally Ride and brought in actress and writer Sherri Stoner, who was swimming in a tank so animators could recreate her movements and gestures. Alyssa Milano also inspired Ariel’s look and would present The making of ‘The Little Mermaid’ special herself on Disney Channel. Years later, Milano played an on-screen mermaid in the Charmed two-part episode “A Witch’s Tail”.

The film’s villain Ursula was also based on a celebrity, namely drag artist Divine, who played Edna Turnblad in 1988. Hair spray.

1 Launched the Disney Renaissance

Beauty and the Beast

Walt Disney Animation Studios had uneven production in previous years The little Mermaid release. From 1985 The great mouse detective was relatively successful, but 1984 The Black Cauldron it hadn’t lived up to expectations. Oliver and company it had made more money on its stage presentation than any previous Disney animated film, but critical reactions were mixed.

The little Mermaid, however, it was a financial factor Y critical success, earning more than Oliver and company and inspiring a decade of animated hits. Especially notable was that of 1991 Beauty and the Beast, the first animated film to receive an Oscar nomination for Best Picture.

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