The Little Mermaid lyrics updated to include consent
The new live-action remake of The Little Mermaid is modifying song lyrics to reflect our changing world, including an update regarding consent.
This summer Disney is releasing a live-action version of their 1989 animated classic The Little Mermaid. That film featured memorable songs by Alan Menken and Howard Ashman that helped kick off the studio’s animated renaissance.
This new adaptation hits screens next month with a star-studded cast than includes Halle Bailey as Aerial, Jonah Hauer-King as Prince Eric, Melissa McCarthy as Ursula, and Javier Bardem as King Triton.
But making the transition from animation to live-action isn’t the only change happening to this iteration of the story.
The Little Mermaid lyrics changed to include consent
While speaking to Vanity Fair about his work on The Little Mermaid update, composer Alan Menken explains: “There are some lyric changes in Kiss the Girl because people have gotten very sensitive about the idea that [Prince Eric] would, in any way, force himself on [Ariel].
Kiss the Girl isn’t the only song being modified for the 21st century, with Poor Unfortunate Souls receiving similar treatment.
“We have some revisions in Poor Unfortunate Souls regarding lines that might make young girls somehow feel that they shouldn’t speak out of turn,” says Menken. “Even though Ursula is clearly manipulating Ariel to give up her voice.”
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Lin-Manuel Miranda helped write four new songs
Alan Menken collaborated with Lin-Manuel Miranda on the new iteration, and the pair of them wrote four new songs for the movie, though only three have made it into the finished feature.
“One was the Prince Eric song, called Wild Unchartered Waters,” Menken tells VF. “Then, there was the song for Ariel when she has her legs [but doesn’t have a voice], and she’s singing her thoughts about all the firsts she is noticing for the first time.
“Then, there was a number called Scuttlebutt for Scuttle and Sebastian. It’s this harebrained [song about] trying to figure out what’s going on because they hear rumors that the prince has decided to marry. They think it must be Ariel but of course it’s Ursula in the form of Vanessa. It’s all this delicious imagination. Lin’s lyrics are to die for.
“We wrote a fourth song called Impossible Child for King Triton. It didn’t remain in the film only because dramaturgically we didn’t really need it. It was so great to work with Javier Bardem on that song and people will hear it as a DVD outtake, I guess.”
The Little Mermaid hits screens on May 26, while for more on the movie, head here.