Did Melissa McCarthy Just Confirm She’ll Play Ursula in ‘The Little Mermaid’?

It sounds like Melissa McCarthy will be playing ultimate baddie Ursula in the live-action remake of The Little Mermaid, based on her interview with Jimmy Kimmel. The topic came up and McCarthy appeared to confirm all of the rumors — of course with a heavy dose of winking and playing coy.

Melissa McCarthy ursula little mermaid
Melissa McCarthy | Jeff Kravitz/FilmMagic

Rumors have been flying about The Little Mermaid casting

So far, Halle Bailey has been the only star that’s confirmed for the live-action remake — she’ll be playing Ariel. Other casting rumors have been flying, with Harry Styles reportedly topping fans’ lists as the dreamy Prince Eric and buzz building about Javier Bardem taking on King Triton

Other casting buzz includes Jacob Tremblay bringing Flounder to life and Awkwafina playing the seagull Scuttle.

The film’s director, Rob Marshall, released a statement on July 3 confirming Bailey’s role, noting: “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.”

Bailey took to Twitter to call the casting a “dream come true.”

McCarthy confirmed she’ll be Ursula

No doubt, playing the role of one of Disney’s greatest villains is a major get and McCarthy is beaming about the opportunity.

During her sit-down on Jimmy Kimmel Live, she aggressively hinted that the rumors are true, as she teased when asked about the remake, “What’s that?… I hadn’t heard about that. It seems like it will be an awfully fun thing to do. Oh, I’d love if Disney gave me a little ringy dingy. We’ll see.” 

That’s when she made things abundantly clear with a wink and a note of, “If it did, it would be very wonderful, Disney.”

McCarthy has been a fan for a long time as she’s seen the original movie more times than she can count. She explained: “I feel like everyone has watched that. I was a nanny when it first came out and one of the little girls I was watching, we watched it every single night for about a year and a half. No, I’m kidding at all. I’m like, I know it. I know it to my core and I weirdly still love it.”

Disney’s Freeform responded to Ariel casting criticism

In response to the negative comments about casting Bailey as Ariel, Disney’s cable network Freeform posted an open letter on Instagram. They explained: “Yes. The original author of The Little Mermaid was Danish. Ariel… is a mermaid. She lives in an underwater kingdom in international waters and can legit swim wherever she wants (even though that often upsets King Triton, absolute zaddy).”

The post continued: “But for the sake of argument, let’s say that Ariel, too, is Danish. Danish mermaids can be black because Danish *people* can be black. Ariel can sneak up to the surface at any time with her pals Scuttle and the *ahem* Jamaican crab Sebastian (sorry, Flounder!) and keep that bronze base tight. Black Danish people, and this mer-folk, can also *genetically* (!!!) have red hair.”

The post further noted that “the character of Ariel is a work of fiction” and explained: “So after all this is said and done, and you still cannot get past the idea that choosing the incredible, sensational, highly-talented, gorgeous Halle Bailey is anything other than the INSPIRED casting that it is because she ‘doesn’t look like the cartoon one,’ oh boy, do I have some news for you… about you.”