The Little Mermaid director Rob Marshall recently expressed his astonishment at the racist remarks he encountered following the casting of Halle Bailey as Ariel.
In an interview with Deadline, the renowned director expressed his surprise at the unexpected controversy that arose solely because a woman of color had been selected to play the role of Ariel.
The 62-year-old added, “When that controversy arose, from narrow-minded people, I thought, ‘Wow, that really feels like it’s coming from another century. Are we really still there?'”
Celebrating the representation of people of color, he said, “But the bonus that came with that casting, and I wasn’t aware of it at the time, is seeing these young girls of color and young boys of color looking at her and thinking, ‘Wow, I’m represented.'”
He also shed light on the scarcity of such representation in Hollywood saying, “We’re still developing and growing in that area.”
The Mary Poppins Returns director concluded by reflecting on how Ariel’s story is very relatable in modern times, “the whole time making the film, it felt like an antidote to this divided place we’re in, an important reminder that we’re really all one”.