Jodi Benson, the OG Ariel, Gets Candid About Changes Made to Disney’s ‘The Little Mermaid’

Loyal fans of The Little Mermaid may have a bone to pick with Disney's new live-action remake of the classic, but that's certainly not the case for Jodi Benson, aka the voice of the original Ariel.

In case you haven't heard, the fantasy musical, which was released in theaters on May 26, featured updated versions of classic songs to make them more culturally sensitive. For instance, the popular track, "Kiss the Girl" was tweaked to include consent, while "Poor Unfortunate Souls" encouraged women to speak up.

Apparently, this led to backlash from some fans, but Benson spoke out in support of these changes, noting that "times change."

jodi benson

She told People, “When you look at our film, we started in the studio in 1986 and we were released in 1989. Times change, people change, cultures change. What matters and what is important changes. And, as a studio, we need to make those adjustments, and we need to take into consideration what’s going on around us. We need to be aware.”

She added, “I do feel all of the nuances and small, slight changes here and there are very important. It’s very important to address what’s going on right now in our world and to make it effective for our period of time, where we are right now in this generation.”

In addition to modernizing the songs, director Rob Marshall also included a diverse cast, led by none other than power vocalist Halle Bailey. Regarding the singer's performance, Benson said, “I loved everything that she did with the film. I love the acting, I love the singing and just the pure spirit. Her beautiful love for the character comes through. It’s just a beautiful, beautiful performance.”

She continued, "The way that they paid tribute to the integrity of our original film just comes shining through in such a beautiful way. It really is just breathtaking."

Well, excuse us while we head to the nearest movie theater.

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nakeisha campbell bio

Associate Editor, News and Entertainment

Nakeisha has been interviewing celebrities and covering all things entertainment for over 8 years, but she has also written on a wide range of topics, like career...