Why Fans Want Lizzo To Be Ursula In Disney’s ‘The Little Mermaid’ Live-Action Remake

With Disney’s remake of The Lion King having already made $243 million in the US alone, Disney isn’t about to halt its series of do-overs. Now they want to go under the sea with The Little Mermaid, and fans have someone in mind for the sea witch Ursula. 

It’s not Melissa McCarthy, who has been talked up for the role – it’s Lizzo, the rapper, singer and musician.

As fans are wont to do, they’ve started a petition vouching for Lizzo – and it’s up to more than 15,000 signatures. 

Lizzo | Mat Hayward/Getty Images

Lizzo definitely wants to play Ursula

Lizzo is starting to break out, with her music being used in the acclaimed movie Booksmart.  Her biggest hit here is the 2017 single “Truth Hurts,” which peaked at No. 6. Her third album, Cuz I Love You, also peaked at No. 6. 

Lizzo isn’t getting noticed only in the music world. She’s gotten some notice from movies as well. She did voice work for the animated movie UglyDollz, and she’s due to appear in the movie Hustlers with Constance Wu, Jennifer Lopez, Julia Stiles and Cardi B.

Directed by Lorene Scafaria (Seeking a Friend for the End of the World), the movie is due for release Sept. 13. 

Rizzo definitely wants to play Ursula, having tweeted three words and a video: “I’m Ursula. Period.” 

The petition reads, “In the most self-aware statement that anyone has ever made, Lizzo has gone on record to say that Ursula would be her dream role. Lizzo is a big grrrrl with the rising star power and the sheer vocal ability that make her the perfect Ursula casting decision. Truth Hurts, and Disney seriously needs to rethink this casting.”

Lizzo responded to the petition by writing “Omg” alongside an octopus and mermaid emoji

Who has been cast in ‘The Little Mermaid?’


McCarthy has not yet been confirmed for the role, although with her brash comic style, she would seem to be an “obvious” choice. Disney has not totally shied away from relative unknowns in their remakes, as Mena Massoud and Naomi Scott can attest for their roles as Aladdin and Jasmine in that remake. Will Smith’s Genie was all the star power they needed. 

Confirmed for the Mermaid remake are Halle Bailey as Ariel, whose casting has caused some controversy, Awkwafina as the spacey seagull Scuttle, and Jacob Tremblay as Flounder, Ariel’s best buddy.  Also In talks are Harry Styles as Prince Eric and Javier Bardem as King Triton. 

The Little Mermaid remake does not have a release date yet, but Chicago director Rob Marshall will helm the picture. Most recently, he directed Mary Poppins Returns for Disney. 

In the 1989 animated movie, seen by many as the start of the Disney Renaissance, Ursula was played by Pat Carroll, who is still with us at age 92. She was a regular on the sitcom Make Room for Daddy and played Shirley’s mom on Laverne and Shirley.

She had other experience with fairy tales, having starred as Prunella the wicked stepsister in Rodgers and Hammerstein’s Cinderella

What other remakes does Disney have coming up?

According to Collider, the next official remake is Mulan, set for release on March 27, 2020. Directed by Niki Caro, the movie stars Liu Yifei, Yoson An, Jason Scott Lee, Donnie Yen, Gong Li, Ron Yuan, Jimmy Wong, Doua Moua, Chen Tang, and Jet Li. One way the remake will differ from the original is that the villain will be a witch played by Gong Li rather than Hun invader Shan Yu.

Before that comes Maleficent: Mistress of Evil, which is not really a remake but a sequel to the reimagining of Sleeping Beauty. Once again starring Angelina Jolie and Elle Fanning, the movie comes out October 18. Also in the works is a live-action take on Lady and the Tramp, which is expected to premiere on Disney+.

In various stages of development are titles including Snow White, Pinocchio, Peter Pan and The Hunchback of Notre Dame. However, there is some concern that Disney is stretching itself thin. 

“The only animated film left in Disney’s vault with a chance to be a mega-blockbuster at the box office is The Little Mermaid,” Jeff Bock, a media analyst at Exhibitor Relations told Variety.  “In terms of musicality and popularity, it’s right up there with Beauty and the Beast, Aladdin and The Lion King.