Disney's live-action The Little Mermaid remake is speeding towards its debut—the film is set to hit movie theatres May 26. Ahead of that release, Alan Menken and Lin-Manuel Miranda are teasing the new material they've developed for the film, which will include both completely new songs by Menken and Miranda and revisions to the animated film's original songs, according to a report in Entertainment Weekly.
According to the outlet, the duo looked to some of the underscoring Menken wrote for the scene in the original film where Prince Eric gives Ariel a tour of the kingdom. That melody has become "For the First Time," a new song for Ariel (played by Halle Bailey) as she adjusts to life as a human. According to Miranda, the song became a chance to see Ariel interact with the very things she can only imagine in the Howard Ashman-penned lyrics to the original film's "Part of Your World."
Prince Eric, being played on screen by British actor Jonah Hauer-King, is also seeing some character expansion with "Wild Uncharted Waters," a new song the character sings shortly after Ariel saves him from the shipwreck (this slot was filled with "Her Voice" in the Broadway adaptation of the animated film, written by Menken and Glenn Ballard). Similarly, seagull Scuttle, who newly led "Human Stuff" in the stage adaptation, is getting a different new song for the screen, titled "Scuttlebutt." This new tune reportedly features a Caribbean-style melody, with lyrics inspired by the character's habit of getting lost in tangents. The song is sung by Awkwafina as Scuttle and also Tony-winning Hamilton star Daveed Diggs as stuffy crab Sebastian.
A separate report in Vanity Fair reveals that a fourth new song was also written and filmed, "Impossible Child" for Javier Bardem's King Triton. The tune reportedly went to the chopping block, so fans will have to keep an eye out for deleted scenes on the eventual home video release.
Menken also shares in the Vanity Fair piece that some of the animated film's original songs, written by Menken and the late Ashman, have gotten subtle revisions for this new outing. "Kiss the Girl" has been updated to remove the idea that Prince Eric should in any way force himself on Ariel, and "Poor Unfortunate Souls" has gotten some tweaks too, addressing "lines that might make young girls somehow feel that they shouldn't speak out of turn, even though Ursula is clearly manipulating Ariel to give up her voice," Menken shares.
Audiences will get their first chance to hear all of the new material May 19 when the film's soundtrack drops ahead of the movie theatre premiere.
Along with Bailey, Hauer-King, Awkwafina, Diggs, and Bardem, the film will feature Melissa McCarthy (Bridesmaids, The Heat) as Ursula, Jude Akuwudike (Beasts of No Nation, The Tempest) as Grimsby, Lorena Andrea (Warrior Nun) as new character Perla, Kajsa Mohammar (Misbehaviour) as new character Karina, and Jacob Tremblay (Room) as Flounder.
Disney brought The Little Mermaid to the Broadway stage in 2007. The musical replaced another Disney show, Beauty and the Beast, at the Lunt-Fontanne Theatre, where it began previews November 3, 2007, and opened January 10, 2008. It played 685 performances and 50 previews, earning nominations for Best Original Score and Best Lighting Design of a Musical.
Watch a trailer for the upcoming release below: