Lin-Manuel Miranda on the Stress of Writing New Music for ‘The Little Mermaid’


The latest in Disney’s line of classic animations which have been reimagined into live-action will come soon in the shape of Rob Marshall‘s The Little Mermaid. The iconic tail (get it?) of Ariel, who seeks to be part of our world, the original animated film was a vital part of the Disney Renaissance, seen as the second golden age in Disney animation allowing the films that followed to power their way to critical and box office success.

A key factor in The Little Mermaid‘s success came down to the songs, written by Alan Menken. Featuring earworm bops like ‘Under the Sea’, ‘Part of Your World’ and ‘Kiss The Girl’, the score was so successful that it not only went multi-platinum in sales, but also won two Oscars and a Grammy. However, when it came to remaking the film for live action, a longer length of film – the original is a touch over 80 minutes – meant new songs would need to be written.


And so, Marshall and Menken turned to a new icon of Disney from years past, in the shape of Lin-Manuel Miranda, the lyrical genius who had already achieved stratospheric success with the company thanks to his work on films like Moana, Encanto and Mary Poppins Returns – as well as contributing music to the Star Wars sequel trilogy.

Image via Walt Disney Studios

RELATED: Halle Bailey’s ‘The Little Mermaid’ Teaser Draws in 104 Million Global Views

A lifelong fan of the film, however, Miranda signed up on the condition that he have a veto on songs that he felt would not serve a purpose in driving the plot forward, or distracting the audience from why they were there to see the film in the first place. “I said, ‘I will sign on as a producer. But really the hat I’m wearing is, Chairman of the ‘Don’t F**k It Up’ committee. And I will weigh in when I think you’re f__kin’ it up!’, said Miranda to Empire Magazine in their June 2023 issue, before explaining why he had been so drawn to the project.

I remember ‘Under The Sea’ starting. Goose-pimples doesn’t do justice to the weird, weightless vertigo I felt when this calypso number started in the middle of the fucking ocean. I couldn’t believe what I was seeing. You can ask my fourth-grade teacher – I would get up on the desk and sing ‘Under The Sea’. I just was Sebastian the crab for a few months. “I said, ‘Happy to write new lyrics if they need them. And if they don’t, I won’t. I do not want to shoehorn in a song that no-one wants to sit through, because they want to get to

‘Under The Sea’ already. I’m that person! ‘GET ON WITH ‘UNDER THE SEA’!

Who Stars in The Little Mermaid?

The movie features Halle Bailey as Ariel, Jonah Hauer-King as Prince Eric, Noma Dumezweni as a new character Queen Selina, Javier Bardem as King Triton, and Melissa McCarthy as Ursula alongside Daveed Diggs, Jacob Tremblay, and Awkwafina set in various voice roles – Diggs plays Sebastian the crab, Tremblay takes on the role of Flounder the fish, and Awkwafina will play Scuttle the seagull.

The Little Mermaid will make its premiere in theaters on May 26. You can make it a part of your world by watching the trailer down below.

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