Even though Disney's live action remake of The Little Mermaid is still quite away off after being pushed back to Memorial Day 2023, it leading lady Halle Bailey has assured fans that the wait will be worth it. In the meantime, we are going to now have almost two years of little teases, images and other reminders that the movie is still coming, and songwriter Alan Menken has kicked this off by revealing that the new version of the movie will contain no less than four new songs. The original animated classic featured a small number of iconic songs, which included Part of Your World, Under The Sea, Kiss The Girl, Poor Unfortunate Souls and a number of reprises, so the additional tunes will be quite a step up from many of the other recent remakes which have usually included one new track in addition to the long-standing songs.
Speaking on Disney's For Scores podcast, Alan Menken discussed his work on the original Little Mermaid with the late Howard Ashman, and his new collaboration with Hamilton's Lin-Manuel Miranda on the new movie. "At first, Lin-Manuel Miranda was struggling to do Alan Menken-style songs, and he felt like, walking in Howard Ashman's shoes was a daunting prospect. Then we wrote some songs that were in Lin's wheelhouse and for me, walking in Lin-Manuel Miranda's shoes was a daunting prospect, but we had a blast," Menken explained.
He continued, "Howard had very strong feelings about making sure that we were always driving story forward, and always stylistically rooted in a world. Howard would really educate the animators, and sit and talk to them about how songs should drive a story. I would hear about Lin-Manuel Miranda when he was a little kid because my niece went to the Hunter school and she was a classmate of Lin's ... I would hear about [him] from my sister Faye, who would say, 'This boy Lin, he loves The Little Mermaid so much. Could you sign this poster? I remember signing a poster to Lin that said, 'To Lin, please stop kissing Jenny's feet. Alan Menken.'"
Menken previously worked on Disney's other remakes of Beauty and The Beast and Aladdin, reworking some of the existing classic songs and adding one new big number to both in the form of Evermore and Speechless respectively. With The Little Mermaid now being confirmed to double its song content, there are clearly going to future classics among them and some work has clearly gone into bringing the style of the original movie's tracks to the new material. Like with many of the new versions of the Disney animated back catalogue, the runtime is having to be extended from the usual 65-80 minute runtime of the originals, and clearly The Little Mermaid is going to make up some of that expansion in musical numbers as well as story detail.
The Disney movie features an all star cast joining Bailey's Ariel including Javier Bardem as King Trition, Melissa McCarthy as Ursula, Daveed Diggs as the voice of Sebastian, Jacob Tremblay as the voice of Flounder, and Awkwafina as the voice of Scuttle the seagull, while Jonah Hauer-King will be playing Prince Eric. The Little Mermaid is currently slated to float to shore on May 26th, 2023. This news comes courtesy of Variety.