The Little Mermaid Live-Action Cast Vs. The Animated Characters In Side-By-Side Photos

Warning: Flounder might make you gasp.

by Anna Traver

Disney’s live-action remake of The Little Mermaid premieres in theaters everywhere on May 26. Leading up to the big day, we’ve gotten glimpses of the new movie and the characters bringing the beloved Disney story to life once again. And because it’s live-action, those characters look much more realistic and a bit different from those we all know so well from the original animated movie.

The live-action version of The Little Mermaid stars Halle Bailey as Ariel, who is making history as the first Black actress to portray the Disney Princess. Bailey’s casting has brought tears and joy to thousands of kids and families all over the world, including a group of little Black girls at the UK premiere of the movie who got to hug Ariel herself. The animated Ariel in the original Little Mermaid released in 1989 was voiced by Jodi Benson, who recently attended the premiere in Los Angeles. Benson posted a photo of her and Bailey on her Instagram Story, with the caption, “Halle, you were absolutely amazing! I’m SO proud of you and your beautiful performance as Ariel!”

The movie also stars huge names such as Melissa McCarthy as Ursula, Javier Bardem as King Triton, Awkwafina as Scuttle, and Daveed Diggs as Sebastian. How does this live-action cast compare to the the original animated characters? Let’s take a look!



In November, Halle Bailey shared with E! News how important playing this role is to her. “It just makes me cry. The fact that all these little Black and Brown babies are going to be able to feel like they’re being represented is really special to me,” she said. “I know that if I had that when I was younger, it would have changed a whole lot for me and my perspective on who I am as an individual.”

Prince Eric


The live-action Prince Eric is played by Jonah Hauer-King, who is originally from the UK. The Little Mermaid will be one of his biggest films yet, and fans are excited to see the actor flourish.

King Triton


Javier Bardem had some singing experience, but shared in an interview with SiriusXM that he really had to tap in to learning and expanding on those skills to play the role of King Triton. He also discussed how excited he was to be able to work with director, Rob Marshall.


Melissa McCarthy is sure to make another fabulous appearance, adding The Little Mermaid to her long list of major castings. She told People, “I threw myself in front of [director Rob Marshall’s] car and begged him. I didn’t really, but I did beg him to talk to me. That part’s true. I’ve spent more time with Little Mermaid than probably any other movie, which I didn’t really think about until Rob’s like, ‘Did you see this a few times?’ I’m like, ‘Well, [now that] you ask me, I’ve seen it a weird amount of times. Which could have frightened him. Luckily it didn’t.”


Live-action Flounder is voiced by Jacob Tremblay, who has starred in Room and Good Boys. Flounder is Ariel’s best friend and sidekick, sticking by her side throughout her tumultuous adventure. There was some criticism regarding how realistic the live-action Flounder looks, but Tremblay told The Hollywood Reporter, “I couldn’t really imagine it a different way, if that makes sense. I think it worked perfectly; they were really smart about it.”


Daveed Diggs, who starred in Hamilton, voices Sebastian, the most iconic crab. Sebastian serves as a parent-figure to Ariel, always keeping an eye on her for King Triton.


Awkwafina, a comedian and actress, lends her voice to Scuttle, one of the most-loved seagulls. She told HelloGiggles in an interview, “When I got the news, I kind of couldn’t believe it, because Scuttle was a favorite character of mine. He always stood out to me.”

Like the original, Disney’s live-action version of The Little Mermaid has a stellar soundtrack, which is full of songs you already know and love as well as some new bops. Between the animation, music, and this incredible cast, you know you’ll be watching The Little Mermaid on repeat whenever it arrives on Disney+ after its theatrical release.

The Little Mermaid premieres in theaters everywhere on Friday, May 26.