Over the past two weeks, Disney has unveiled previews for two upcoming movies – Peter Pan & Wendy and The Little Mermaid – featuring Yara Shahidi as Tinker Bell and Halle Bailey as Ariel, correspondingly. Both actors have co-starred in Grown-ish and are setting a new standard by playing Disney’s classic characters, who were predominantly played by white actors. Through their roles, the two friends are contributing to the inclusion of diversity in the timeless narratives.
Shahidi revealed in a recent interview with The Hollywood Reporter that she’s “so excited to watch Halle onscreen — if there’s anybody that is a princess just in real life, in the world, it’s Halle,” continuing that her playing Ariel “made so much sense.”
The star further continued, “what’s been beautiful is seeing the response to both of our characters and seeing how many people feel included in this fairy tale, while also maintaining the magic that we love in the first place.”
“I think oftentimes people think of diversity and inclusion as threatening or jeopardizing the quality of the story, instead of seeing how beautifully they can be interwoven together to create something that impacts even more people, that lets even more people into stories that we love,” she added.
Yara Shahidi talks about ‘Peter Pan & Wendy’
The star talked about how the upcoming movie is an updated version of the original story. “It’s such a beautiful moment to step into a fairy tale that I think means so much to people… I think remakes have to be prove why they are worth being remade in the first place, and having had a chance to watch the film, I think [David Lowery] updates it in a such a natural way,” she shared.
When asked about what she loves about her character, she replied, “I think she represents how youth-driven the climate change movement has been. It’s a movement where I really do look to my peers. It’s a conversation that quite honestly that I’m newer in myself but I think I pulled constant inspiration from the fact that it’s kids on the front lines… I think my character is kind of reflective or a symbol of what that work looks like and their presence in it.”
‘Peter Pan & Wendy’ will debut April 28 on Disney+.