TikToker Spills Shocking “Secrets” About ‘The Little Mermaid’ Cast

in Disney, Entertainment, Movies & TV

The Little Mermaid TikTok

Credit: Inside the Magic

Now that Disney’s live-action retelling of The Little Mermaid (2023) has splashed into theaters, one production assistant is spilling the tea on its main cast, exposing some jaw-dropping secrets about how they treated the film crew—and revealing which A-list celebrity was supposed to have a small role in the movie.

Ariel looks over an unconscious Eric on the beach
Credit: Disney

Returning “Under the Sea” with director Rob Marshall’s The Little Mermaid has been a project years in the making, and production was no small undertaking. When creating a vibrant and textured world similar to that seen in the 1989 animated original for live-action, filmmakers faced a massive challenge.

The Little Mermaid was filmed “dry for wet,” meaning that actors were mostly lifted into harnesses against a blue screen to simulate swimming underwater. In the visual effects department, musical sequences such as “Under the Sea” would have to be created mainly using CGI and mermaid tails would be edited onto the performers in post-production.

Halle Bailey playing Ariel in 'The Little Mermaid' (2023)
Credit: Disney

Thankfully, the film’s all-star cast seemed up to the challenge. Starring Halle Bailey as Princess Ariel, Javier Bardem as King Triton, Melissa McCarthy as Ursula, and Jonah Hauer-King as Prince Eric, the film debuted to generally positive reviews from critics and fans. 2023’s The Little Mermaid is nearly a beat-by-beat remake of the original, with slight tweaks to make the story more accessible for modern audiences.

Now that some audiences have gotten a chance to see The Little Mermaid in theaters, TikTok user @dilbertreigns, who claims to have worked on the film as a so-called “water tank coordinator,” is sharing some behind-the-scenes secrets about its main cast. 


Wish i could spilllll part of that teaaaaaa ☕️#littlemermaid #filmtok #GetCrackin #QuakerPregrain#jacobtremblay#teaspill#secret#water#hallebailey#liveforthechallenge#world#ariel

♬ original sound – Dilbert

He explained the key differences between The Little Mermaid‘s production and one of his previous jobs on Avatar: The Way of Water (2022). The former was filmed “dry for wet,” while the latter was filmed mostly in water. However, The Little Mermaid‘s CGI team wanted to see how the actors moved underwater, so they did a series of water tank tests for inspiration.

The TikTok user, who allegedly supervised these tests, described Bailey as “so beyond kind” and “like a true Disney princess” during filming. She was supposedly “so nervous” that the water would be cold, but that once she was in there, “she did not want to get out.”

Halle Bailey as Ariel talking to Scuttle (Awkwafina) in live-action 'The Little Mermaid'
Credit: Disney

Jacob Tremblay, who lent his voice to Flounder for the film, would reportedly show up for Bailey’s water tank tests despite not having to be on set, as his character was computer generated. However, the TikTok creator claimed that Tremblay wanted to be there to “work on their friendship” before filming and would even pull pranks on Bailey while she was swimming.

He then described Javier Bardem as a “major health nut” who wanted to ensure the pool’s pH levels were balanced and “didn’t trust” the crew to measure them. After getting out of the water, Bardem, who now seems like a bit of a diva, would lotion his entire body every time, wanting to maintain his King Triton regalness.

Javier Bardem as King Triton in The Little Mermaid
Credit: Disney

As for McCarthy, the TikTok creator described her as “the best” and “a true dream” while doing her water tank tests for Ursula. He gushed over working with the longtime comedy actor, who “cared deeply about nailing Ursula,” as she was very aware of “how much [the character] means to fans.” McCarthy supposedly gave “full-out performances” underwater and even formed a funny inside joke with the crew. She gave the original poster a hilarious token of her appreciation when filming wrapped—a signed cereal box.

melissa mccarthy as ursula in ‘the little mermaid’
Credit: Disney

Interestingly, according to the original poster, Yellowjackets star and Hollywood royalty Winona Ryder came in at one point to record water tank tests for an unnamed character in The Little Mermaid. While her rumored “could’ve been” role in the movie has yet to be confirmed, she allegedly came in before everyone was officially cast, meaning Ryder might’ve been our live-action Ursula, Queen Selina, or someone else entirely. Either way, she didn’t make the final cut.

Littler Mermaid
Credit: Disney

While it seems like everyone had a blast filming Disney’s newest underwater adventure, truthfully, this TikTok creator is known for making funny parody skits about fake film productions, meaning all of his “tea” surrounding The Little Mermaid is just that—a parody. Still, it’s safe to assume that McCarthy is a blast to work with behind-the-scenes.

Have you gotten the chance to see The Little Mermaid in theaters yet? If so, what did you think? Let us know in the comments below.

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