Disney has begun casting for another one of its many, many, many live-action-ish remakes, as Variety reports that Melissa McCarthy is in talks to play Ursula the sea witch in the upcoming reimagining of The Little Mermaid. That's... some obvious casting. I love McCarthy, who is clearly an incredibly talented actor, but casting her as Ursula is as lazy as casting Whoopi Goldberg as Mother Abigail in The Stand – which literally just happened this week. It's as if a five-year-old is making these decisions:
"Hey there Tommy, can you name a famous black actress who is older?"
"VERY GOOD. Now Tommy, and this one is important, sweetie, can you tell me the name of a famous actress who has a larger-sized body?"
"The Bridesmaids lady?"
"Great job, honey! Go get yourself a gluten-free quinoa cookie."
On top of the blatantly unimaginative casting, it's also dismissive of the spirit of Ursula – who, as many fans know, was inspired by John Waters' muse and frequent collaborator Divine. Given Disney's aversion to properly acknowledging the LGBTQ+ community, this isn't terribly surprising, but it's still disappointing. What I am about to say will never come out of my mouth (or from my fingertips) again: Cast a man, you cowards. As evidenced by the performance below, Tituss Burgess would make a perfect Ursula, and he's already starred in a Broadway production of The Little Mermaid (albeit as Sebastian):
Or, I don't know, watch an episode of RuPaul's Drag Race because the role of Ursula requires a big, dramatic personality with an affinity for camp and those ladies are nothing if not campy as fuck.
Another idea: Stop behaving as if Melissa McCarthy is the only plus-size actor on the planet. You could cast Danielle MacDonald, or – my second-favorite, after Burgess – Lizzo. Imagine a live-action version of The Little Mermaid with LIZZO as Ursula. Imagine her cover of "Poor Unfortunate Souls." Just try to tell me it would not 100% slap.
Anyway. Mary Poppins Returns director Rob Marshall is behind the new version of The Little Mermaid, which will feature classic songs by Alan Menken as well as new songs co-written by Menken and Lin-Manuel Miranda (who will inevitably be cast in this thing, probably as Sebastian, because obviously).