The Little Mermaid: Lin-Manuel Miranda on being devoted to the original

As a big fan of the original, Lin-Manuel Miranda would ensure not to screw up writing new songs for The Little Mermaid.

The go-to artist for musicals in recent years is the writer/creator of the newest sensation, Hamilton, Lin-Manuel Miranda. The esteemed songwriter has been behind such music for films like In the Heights, Moana, Encanto, and more. As Disney checks through their list of old animated classics to give live-action remakes, when it comes to updating or welcoming new additions to the soundtracks for these adaptations, Miranda is given carte blanche to create new tunes that update and honor the originals. According to Empire, Miranda is such a fan of the original 1989 animated film, The Little Mermaid, when given the task to write new music for the live-action adaptation, he would make sure not to drop the ball by appointing himself the “Head of the Don’t Fuck It Up Committee.” Miranda would tell Empire when he was offered the chance to be involved with the Rob Marshall re-imagining, “I said, ‘I will sign on as a producer. But really the hat I’m wearing is Chairman of the ‘Don’t Fuck It Up’ committee. And I will weigh in when I think you’re fuckin’ it up!”

New songs for the movie will include ‘For The First Time,’ for Halle Bailey’s Ariel; ‘Wild Uncharted Waters,’ for Jonah Hauer-King’s Prince Eric; and ‘Scuttlebutt,’ for Awkwafina’s feathery friend Scuttle. Howard Ashmen and Alan Menken would create the compositions for the original film, and Miranda had intended to stay consistent with the magic of the 1989 film’s music by collaborating with Menkin. “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’!’”

When talking about how he was obsessed with the original movie when it premiered, Miranda emphasized how his life changed when he told Empire, “I just was Sebastian the crab for a few months.”

The live-action remake stars Halle Bailey as Ariel; Jonah Hauer-King as Prince Eric; Javier Bardem as King Triton; Melissa McCarthy as Ursula; Noma Dumezweni as Queen Selina; Daveed Diggs as the voice of Sebastian; Jacob Tremblay as the voice of Flounder; and Awkwafina as the voice of Scuttle. 

The Little Mermaid will hit theaters on May 26.

Source: Empire

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E.J. is a News Editor at JoBlo, as well as a Video Editor, Writer, and Narrator for some of the movie retrospectives on our JoBlo Originals YouTube channel, including Reel Action, Revisited and some of the Top 10 lists. He is a graduate of the film program at Missouri Western State University with concentrations in performance, writing, editing and directing.