Talking with the makers of the live-action 'The Little Mermaid'

ByHosea Sanders and Marsha Jordan WLS logo
Wednesday, May 17, 2023
'Under the Sea' with makers of 'The Little Mermaid'
The filmmakers tell Hosea Sanders the movie is 'reimagined,' but the heart of the classic endures.

CHICAGO (WLS) -- The opening of "The Little Mermaid" is next week, and it's sure to be a glorious fantasy for a whole new generation to discover.

The filmmakers told Hosea Sanders the movie is "reimagined," but the heart of the classic endures.

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The movie comes to theatres on Friday, May 26, but the release has been years in the making.

"Oh, gosh, it felt like we had four babies. It took four years, four and a half years. It was such a sense of relief, accomplishment, joy, pride," said Rob Marshall, the director and producer of "The Little Mermaid."

Recreating the epic Disney classic was daunting at first.

"I felt that way right at the beginning, I thought 'how are we going to do this underwater musical, that's never been done before, so how are they going to do that?'" Marshall said.

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There was a lot of problem-solving.

"It's all him," Producer John DeLuca said about Marshall. "He really kept every department going, creating, he listens to everyone's ideas, everyone's problems and just sorts it out."

One of the unique aspects of the live-action adaptation was that many of the scenes were done underwater.

"Underwater they had to sing, speak and play scenes, it was all done on blue screen," Marshall said. "John and I, our mantra the whole time we were making the film was, the technical aspect of this cannot lead the film. It has to be the story, and it has to be the character work, and the acting, period."

The movie has a central theme of acceptance.

"This girl who feels like she doesn't belong, doesn't fit in, feels displaced, the outsider, she goes on this epic journey of self-discovery and learns not to be afraid of people who are different... the 'other,' and that felt very contemporary to us," Marshall said.

Marshall said those messages are important for present-day audiences.

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"It's very timely, people afraid of people who aren't like them... and a vital reminder that we're really all one, and that was something we held onto while we were making the film," Marshall said.

Disney is the parent company of this station.