Disney’s original animated The little Mermaid features some of the most iconic songs in the studio’s storied history (‘Under The Sea’! ‘Part Of Your World’! ‘Kiss The Girl’!), from Broadway legend Alan Menken and the late, great Howard Ashman. Which means providing new music tracks for the live-action remake, directed by Chicago‘s Rob Marshall comes with all kinds of pressure. Fortunately, that task has fallen to Menken himself, along with Hamilton genius (and Little Mermaid super-mega-fan) Lin-Manuel Miranda to deliver a handful of fresh tunes fleshing out Mermaid Ariel’s journey as she trades fins for feet.
One of those songs is a brand new Ariel number for star Halle Bailey, who arrives at a pivotal point in the story — and as Marshall tells empire, it is titled ‘For The First Time’. “It’s about her experiences the moment she hits land,” he reveals. “We needed to create a number that could almost function as a montage, so that we could take her through that experience – coming into the country, what it’s like to put on shoes, to have legs.” And given that it’s both everything Ariel has dreamed of, but also something scary and new, the song hopes to capture all of those feelings. “Anyone who has a different experience, it’s wonderful and terrifying at the same time,” says Marshall.
From the beginning, it was clear to the director that Bailey was the perfect choice to embody this version of Ariel. “There was an innocence and a purity about it (Hall) as well as having fire,” he says. “It was this strange combination. And of course this magnificent voice.” Get ready to hear ‘For The First Time’ when it enters our world this summer.
Read empireis drunk The little Mermaid story – talking to Rob Marshall about creating a new version of Ariel – i Spider-Man: Across The Spider-Verse issue, on sale Thursday 16 March. Become one empire join now to access the full issue on launch day or pre-order the issue online now here. The little Mermaid hits UK cinemas from 26 May.