New Little Mermaid Halle Bailey Reveals What it Was Really Like Working with Melissa McCarthy

PureWow editors select every item that appears on this page, and the company may earn compensation through affiliate links within the story. All prices are accurate upon date of publish. You can learn more about the affiliate process here.

Portraying the new Ariel in the Disney live-action remake of The Little Mermaid has been an unforgettable experience, according to star Halle Bailey. In the upcoming film, Bailey appears alongside Melissa McCarthy, who plays the evil Ursula. And looking back now, working with McCarthy was a time the 22-year-old will never forget.

Ahead of the movie’s premiere, Bailey partnered with ZYRTEC to celebrate their Beat the Mondays Tour (which started this week) and she took some time to talk with PureWow about both the partnership and The Little Mermaid.

Bailey shared that she had a “beautiful experience” working with McCarthy. “I had been such a fan of hers for a very, very long time, and watching her work on set was really inspiring,” she told PureWow.

Back in February, Disney offered fans a first glimpse of McCarthy as Ursula in a teaser for The Little Mermaid. The short video clip featured a look at the villainous character, where the actress was completely unrecognizable in costume.

Bailey continued, “Seeing how she spoke up for herself, how she wasn't afraid, you know, it was really inspiring for me, a new kind of actress who [is] a musician first. Music is my first love. And so coming on to this set, I’ve never been number one on a call sheet.”

The Color Purple actress went on to say that she learned a lot from the Bridesmaids alum: “It was really cool to be able to learn how to navigate being on such a huge set like that one. And Melissa [McCarthy] was a really, really big staple for me and learning. So I loved her. I still love her and I think people are going to love her portrayal of Ursula.”

Melissa McCarthy at the 'Boss' premiere.

Aside from The Little Mermaid, Bailey is set to star in the upcoming remake of The Color Purple. Based on Alice Walker’s Pulitzer-winning novel of the same name, the original 1985 movie adaptation followed the life of a young, Black woman named Celie. The adversity Black women faced in the 20th Century is the center of the narrative.

In the new movie, Bailey will play the role of Nettie. The Grown-ish alum had a chance to work with many big names for the film, including Fantasia Barrino, Taraji P. Henson, Corey Hawkins, Colman Domingo and R&B singer H.E.R. Oprah Winfrey, who starred in the original film, returns to produce the musical remake alongside Scott Sanders. While talking with PureWow, Bailey shared that it has been a “blessing” to be a part of such a talented cast. 

The Color Purple is a huge staple in the Black community. My grandparents would always have the movie playing, and just getting to be a part of the revamp is exciting because I get to play Nettie, one of the sisters.”

She added, “Just getting to work with legends like Fantasia and Taraji P. Henson was amazing. I can’t wait for people to see it. It’s going to be spectacular.”

Discussing her partnership with ZYRTEC, Bailey shared, “I’m really happy to partner with them just because I’ve used them for a very, very long time. And this just feels very in line with what I take, how I take care of myself.”

We can’t wait to see Halle in The Little Mermaid and The Color Purple.

Want all the latest celebrity news sent right to your inbox? Subscribe here.

karelle mckay headshot e1678464959710

Assistant Editor, News And Entertainment

Karelle McKay is the Assistant Editor of News and Entertainment at PureWow. Before she started writing about all things pop culture, she was a literal couch potato who loved...