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The Little Mermaid's Creators & Stars Open Up About Honoring the Film's Gay Origins

The Little Mermaid's Creators & Stars Open Up About Honoring the Film's Gay Origins

The Little Mermaid's Creators & Stars Open Up About Honoring the Film's Gay Origins
Courtesy of Disney

Out chats with director Rob Marshall, producer John DeLuca, and stars Jacob Tremblay and Awkwafina to tlk about Disney's newest live-action film!

The wait is over, Disney stans! The highly-anticipated live-action reimagining of the studio's beloved classic The Little Mermaid is now finally a part of our world!

A retelling of the beloved 1989 animated film, 2023's The Little Mermaid is star-studded and features a cast that includes Halley Bailey as Ariel and Jonah Hauer-King as Prince Eric, and Melissa McCarthy as Ursula and Javier Bardem as King Triton. The film is also romantic, fresh, vibrant, and modern, while also keeping all of the good stuff fans know and love from the original, which includes the iconic songs from late, queer songwriter Howard Ashman.

Out got the chance to sit down and speak with two of the driving forces behind the film — out, Oscar-nominated director Rob Marshall and his creative (and life!) partner producer John DeLuca — about their modern vision for The Little Mermaid that still honors and pays tribute to the queer creatives that made it such a powerhouse to begin with.

"We all felt Howard's presence as we were working on this film, especially because it meant so much to Alan (Menken]," Marshall told Out, speaking about the late Ashman, the original writer of the film's main theme "Part of Your World." "He was the driving force behind this piece. And as an outsider himself, we all understand. I don't know anybody who hasn't felt like an outsider. His legacy was very important to us."

Out also got to chat with Awkwafina and Jacob Tremblay, who voiced Scuttle and Flounder respectively, about what it was like getting to play such memorable characters in a Disney film.

"Scuttle is beloved," Awkwafina told Out. "One of my favorite scenes of the original and growing up on the Buddy Hackett's performance, it was so fun to be entrusted with reprising it. Rob Marshall really encouraged it to be your own, too, and to be free in finding it. So that was really exciting and it was an honor."

The Little Mermaid is now playing in theaters. Watch the official trailer below.

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