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The Original Voice of Ariel, Jodi Benson, Dishes On Halle Bailey's Casting For Live Action 'Little Mermaid'

Jodi Benson is defending Disney’s choice to cast Halle Bailey as Ariel in the live action The Little Mermaid movie.

While speaking to a crowd at Florida Supercon over the weekend, the actress, and original voice of the animated character, shared her thoughts about the casting decision.

“I think that the spirit of a character is what really matters. What you bring to the table in a character as far as their heart, and their spirit, is what really counts,” Jodi shared. “And the outside package — cause let’s face it, I’m really, really old — and so when I’m singing ‘Part of Your World,’ if you were to judge me on the way that I look on the outside, it might change the way that you interpret the song. But if you close your eyes, you can still hear the spirit of Ariel.”

She added, “We need to be storytellers. And no matter what we look like on the outside, no matter our race, our nation, the color of our skin, our dialect, whether I’m tall or thin, whether I’m overweight or underweight, or my hair is whatever color, we really need to tell the story.”

Freeform issued a statement over the weekend, defending the decision to cast Halle as Ariel.

Meghan McCain Defends Halle Bailey's 'The Little Mermaid' Casting

Meghan McCain is defending Halle Bailey‘s casting as Ariel in the upcoming remake of The Little Mermaid, which has sparked some backlash.

The casting, and the resulting controversy, was one of the main topics on The View on Monday (July 8), and Meghan McCain adamantly defended the casting decision.

PHOTOS: Check out the latest pics of Meghan McCain

“When I was younger, I remember being Cinderella being Brandy and Whitney Houston…fairytales are fairytales…I think it’s a lot less weird than the Disney animated one. I didn’t understand this controversy,” Meghan said during the segment.

“At a time when we’re supposed to be celebrating so much diversity in so many different ways, it seemed so nasty and so negative and so mean to this girl’s break. She’s about to become a household name.”

Watch the women of The View discuss the controversy…

Freeform Responds to Trolls Over Halle Bailey Casting as Ariel in 'The Little Mermaid'

Freeform has issued an official statement addressing Halle Bailey being cast in The Little Mermaid.

The Disney-owned network took to Instagram on Saturday (July 6) to pen a letter titled “An open letter to the Poor, Unfortunate Souls” to address the racist trolls who have slammed the upcoming live-action film for casting the 19-year-old grown-ish star as Ariel.

“Yes. The original author of ‘The Little Mermaid’ was Danish. Ariel…is a mermaid. She lives in an underwater kingdom in international waters and can legit swim whever [sic] she wants (even though that often upsets King Triton, absolute zaddy).”

Freeform continued: “But for the sake of the argument, let’s say that Ariel, too, is Danish. Danish mermaids can be black bc Danish people can be black. Ariel can sneak up to the surface at any time with her pals Scuttle and the ahem Jamaican crab Sebastian (Sorry, Flounder!) and keep that bronze base tight.”

“Black Danish people, and thus mer-folk, can also genetically (!!!) have red hair. But spoiler alert – bring it back to the top – the character of Ariel is a work of fiction.”

Freeform concluded: “So, after all this is said and done, and you still cannot get past the idea that choosing the incredible, sensational, highly-talented, gorgeous Halle Baily is anything other than INSPIRED casting that it is because she ‘doesn’t look like the cartoon one”, oh boy, do I have some news for you… about you.”

See All the Famous Women Who Have Played Ariel in 'The Little Mermaid'!

Halle Bailey might be the newest star to take on the role of Ariel in The Little Mermaid, but she definitely isn’t the first!

Before Disney announced that the 19-year-old actress/singer would be taking on the role in the upcoming live-action film, there were several other women who portrayed the singing mermaid-turned-human in productions of the musical.

Between the animated movie, the Broadway show, and even just a photo series, Halle joins an impressive list of women who have had the honor of playing Ariel.

The upcoming live-action The Little Mermaid doesn’t have an official release date yet.

Meet all the Ariel’s in the slideshow…

Freeform Actress & Singer Halle Bailey Joins 'The Little Mermaid' as Ariel!

The role of Ariel in The Little Mermaid has been cast!

Actress/singer Halle Bailey will play the role of the rebel princess daughter of King Triton in the upcoming live action movie.

Halle, who stars on Freeform’s grown-ish, will join the pic directed by Rob Marshall.

Melissa McCarthy, Jacob Tremblay and Awkwafina are still in talks to join the movie as Ursula, Flounder and Scuttle.

The Little Mermaid remake will be incorporating original songs from the animated movie, plus new tunes from original composer Alan Menken and Lin-Manuel Miranda.

The movie centers on Ariel, who longs to live on land after a lifetime in the sea.

'The Little Mermaid' Live Coming to ABC This Fall!

The Wonderful World Of Disney: The Little Mermaid Live! has just been announced at ABC.

The special, set for October 3 at ABC, will feature live musical performances in a live action/animation hybrid presentation. Several celebs will take part in the presentation, and ABC promises to announce the names of the stars taking part soon!

The songs from the 1989 animated film will be the focus of the special. The songs are written by Alan Menken and Howard Ashman.

Stay tuned for casting information as it becomes available!