‘The Little Mermaid’ Remake Reworking Some Classic Songs’ Lyrics to Include Consent
When The Little Mermaid returns to the big screen next month, the live-action remake will feature both new songs (co-written by Lin-Manuel Miranda), and some reworked lyrics on some of the animated film’s classics, composer Alan Menken reveals in a new interview.
Speaking to Vanity Fair, Menken said that the lyrics of “Kiss the Girl” — one of the standout songs from the original movie — were slightly fine-tuned to make the romantic encounter seem less one-sided.
“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],” Menken said.
Additionally, “Poor Unfortunate Souls,” the big musical number for the villain Ursula (played by Melissa McCarthy in the live-action film), also underwent some tweaks “regarding lines that might make young girls somehow feel that they shouldn’t speak out of turn, even though Ursula is clearly manipulating Ariel to give up her voice,” the composer added.
Menken — who also wrote the music for Disney’s Aladdin and Beauty and the Beast, which like The Little Mermaid, went from animated film to Broadway musical to now a live-action remake — penned four new songs for the film alongside Miranda, a self-proclaimed Menken admirer; three of those made the final cut, while a fourth — sung by Javier Bardem’s King Triton — will resurface as a DVD extra.
“We had a great time,” Menken said of collaborating with Miranda. “He’s really smart. He understands theater really well. He understands a lot of things really well. He’s got this, as you know, stylistic brilliance that brings in hip-hop and rap, and all old musical forms that help. Even though it’s a composer, me, and the lyricist, Lin—when we were in the room, all those influences came to band.”
The Rob Marshall-directed, The Little Mermaid, hits theaters May 26.