Just hours after it was announced Wednesday that the singer from the YouTube duo Chloe x Halle would be cast as the lead role in Disney’s live-action remake of The Little Mermaid, Halle Bailey posted an image on Twitter that sent a frisson of excitement through her fanbase.
The cartoon portrait is a take on the classic Ariel pose on a rock in the water in a purple shell bikini with a wave crashing behind her, but the artist has changed her hair from the trademark red to luscious black locks, and her skin to a lovely honey brown.
According to People, the now-famous image of the Indian-American Ariel is from 2015 when the artist, Dylan Bonner, took a romantic commission from his friend, Brian Flynn. The artist was asked to turn Flynn’s girlfriend Maninai Gupta into a Disney princess. The artist created an adorable, and extensive, series of pictures with Gupta cast as every single Disney princess as one whopper of a romantic surprise on Valentine’s Day.
Flynn uploaded some of the images on to Imgur with the caption “I want our relationship to be as epic and timeless as the animations we grew up on, so I decided to have us painted into some famous Disney scenes and surprise her for Valentines Day.”
dream come true… ????????♀️???? pic.twitter.com/sndjYUS6wO
— chloe x halle (@chloexhalle) July 3, 2019
The work involved in creating all of the pieces of art from scratch wowed the Disney-loving couple.
“The quickness and quality of his work really blew me away. He honestly made this all seem easy,” wrote Flynn on the Imgur post.
Not only did Gupta get Disney-fied, but Flynn made a few appearances in the artwork as well in scenes from Mulan, The Princess and the Frog and Aladdin.
OMG first off, YAS QUEEN????Secondly, uh, that’s an illustration of me from 2015! Commissioned by @bdflynny, created by @DylanBonner90, I LOVE that you posted it. I’d always dreamed of being a @Disney princess❤️ Brown girls unite???????? https://t.co/1Sf9fgNFhm @Lin_Manuel
— Manini Gupta (@ManiniGupta) July 4, 2019
The R&B singer is joining a cast that includes Jacob Tremblay and Awkwafina, while Melissa McCarthy is in talks to play Ariel’s nemesis, Ursula the sea witch.
The remake of The Little Mermaid will incorporate some of the old favorite original songs from the 1989 version as well as a few new tunes from composer Alan Menken and Hamilton creator Lin-Manuel Miranda. Miranda is also producing the film along with Marshall, Marc Platt, and John DeLuca.
“After an extensive search, it was abundantly clear that Halle possesses that rare combination of spirit, heart, youth, innocence, and substance — plus a glorious singing voice — all intrinsic qualities necessary to play this iconic role,” director Rob Marshall said in a statement.