Halle Bailey Spent 13 Hours a Day in Water Filming Parts of ‘Little Mermaid,’ Praises Disney for Story Update: Ariel Doesn’t ‘Leave the Ocean for a Boy’

Becoming Princess Ariel for Disney’s live-action “The Little Mermaid” required Halle Bailey to be in the water for 13 hours straight on set during some days of filming, the actor revealed in a new Edition magazine profile. The film, directed by “Chicago” and “Into the Woods” helmer Rob Marshall, used practical water tanks and visual effects to create extensive underwater sequences for the movie.

“I pushed myself as far as I’ve ever pushed myself in life,” Bailey told the publication about spending some days on set in the water for 13 hours. “And I feel like the message from [Ariel] was to know that you’ve always had it in you.”

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Bailey also told the magazine that her live-action “The Little Mermaid” will put a more contemporary spin on the classic story. Disney’s 1989 animated movie has earned criticism in recent years due to its narrative, in which Ariel wants to go to the surface world solely because she’s fallen in love with Prince Eric.

“I’m really excited for my version of the film because we’ve definitely changed that perspective of just her wanting to leave the ocean for a boy,” Bailey said. “It’s way bigger than that. It’s about herself, her purpose, her freedom, her life and what she wants.”

“As women we are amazing, we are independent, we are modern, we are everything and above,” she added. “And I’m glad that Disney is updating some of those themes.”

The new “Little Mermaid” also stars Jonah Hauer-King as Prince Eric, Melissa McCarthy as Ursula, Javier Bardem as King Triton and Noma Dumezweni as Queen Selina. The voice cast includes Jacob Tremblay as Flounder, Daveed Diggs as Sebastian and Awkwafina as Scuttle.

“The Little Mermaid” opens in theaters May 26 from Disney.

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