The teaser for the live-action version of The Little Mermaid has yet to fully reveal a frame of Melissa McCarthy as Ursula. It’s short and dark, but with that Pat-Carroll-signature laugh, we know it will be perfect. Before her, however, another diva dared to interpret the iconic Disney character, immortalized on the screens by the aforementioned magnificent Pat Carroll, and it was on stage. None other than Queen Latifah.
I’m a fan of the rapper-actress-singer, so nothing she does I consider less than great, but especially her Ursula was amazing. The presentation, in 2019, was to celebrate the 30th anniversary of the release of the 1989 feature. The project began two years earlier, adapting the original script for the stage, named The Wonderful World of Disney: The Little Mermaid Live.
The original proposal was to mix bringing Broadway to TV, with parts of the cartoon in a 2-hour live presentation. Something made in Los Angeles, at the Hollywood Bowl (which had Lea Michele as Ariel and actor Harvey Fierstein as Ursula), but for budget reasons it took two years to get ready, coinciding with the 30th anniversary of the work. The result was lukewarm, with the exception of Latiffah as Ursula, considered the best of the night. By this time, the live-action film was already a reality and even in 2019 rumors began that the chosen one for the role was not Queen Latifah, but Melissa McCarthy, something that she herself confirmed in early 2020. And it did not come without drama.
Although star and adored, fans wanted other names in the role. Lizzo ran for office in 2018, using social media to win votes.
Can I be frank? Melissa will be fine, but how to remove the majesty’s crown? Queen Latifah was perfect, as many thought. Check it out here.