In case you haven’t heard, Melissa McCarthy is in talks, or was already selected to play,Ursula in Disney’s forthcoming live-action film “The Little Mermaid.” Whilst all my friends and most of the Disney fandom celebrated because we at least got some kind of confirmation that “The Little Mermaid” live-action is happening, I have mixed feelings.
That being said, I am absolutely thrilled that the pre-production process is finally happening!
“The Little Mermaid,” much like many others (especially us in the LGBT community), is my favorite trilogy of movies. Whenever I am feeling down and in the dumps, there is nothing like some good ol’ ganja, food, and “The Little Mermaid” trilogy for me personally.
(Pictured is me with the Ariel painting I made. BTW it glows in the dark. I’m telling you I have an unhealthy obsession with “The Little Mermaid.” I also have a “Little Mermaid” shrine. Don’t judge me.)
Eventually, in life, I learned that “The Little Mermaid” had quite a lot of help from the LGBT community. So much so, that one of the characters was literally inspired by a drag queen — Divine. Divine is the inspiration behind the character that we come to love, Ursula. So much so that Divine herself was even in talks to bring Ursula to life by voicing her, before the legendary Patt Carroll. However, she unfortunately passed away shortly after the release of “Hairspray” in 1988. But if you compare footage of both Ursula and Divine, you’d see that Divine is Ursula and Ursula is Divine. There is absolutely no doubt about that.
“The Little Mermaid” is actually one of Disney’s most prized and cherished films. “The Little Mermaid” actually rescued Disney from its “Bronze Age” or more commonly known as Disney’s “Dark Age.” Launching the Disney “Renaissance” era where we have films like “Aladdin,” “Beauty and The Beast’” and “The Lion King.” There goes that little Disney fact for you all who did not know.
So my problem with McCarthy playing the character is that Ursula is probably one of the few characters Disney has that was inspired by LGBT culture, so she should be played by a drag queen and not a cisgender woman.
McCarthy is an iconic actress and there is no shade towards her. However, if McCarthy is really an LGBT ally she needs to back down and have a serious discussion with Disney and tell them to give the role to a drag queen with strong acting skills to play Ursula. RuPaul, Ginger Minj or Monet X Change could easily play this role.
Disney has been queer baiting us recently with their films. Gay couples kissing for five frames in “Star vs. the Forces of Evil” on Disney Channel is not representation. Lefou having three frames of footage at the end of “Beauty and The Beast” dancing with a dude is not representation and in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, “Avengers: Endgame” having the first openly gay character played by Joe Russo is not representation, his character didn’t even have a name.
It’s queerbaiting and annoying.
Disney has a big LGBT fanbase and many LGBT employees so you’d think they would care enough and give us this type of major representation, in a major film. (By the way, yes I am aware of the first openly gay character on Disney Channel, I think that's amazing.)
Ursula was literally inspired by a drag queen and it only makes sense that in the live action film a drag queen should play Ursula.
Carlos can be reached at @EsCarlosFarinas.