The Little Mermaid's Javier Bardem felt 'nervous' to star in Disney classic

Virgin Radio

26 May 2023, 07:38

(L-R) Javier Bardem, Javier as King Triton in The Little Mermaid (2023)

Credit: Rex / Disney Studios

Hollywood star Javier Bardem has admitted he felt anxious to step into the role as King Triton in The Little Mermaid. 

He stars as the protective patriarch to Halle Bailey’s Disney princess Ariel in the new live-action remake of the animated classic, which is out in cinemas today. 

The original 1989 film was a hit with audiences, marking the start of what’s known as the ‘Disney Renaissance’ - so it’s no wonder the 2023 revival's cast would feel nervy about stepping into a film beloved by so many. 

Speaking at the UK premiere of The Little Mermaid earlier this month, the Skyfall actor admitted to and other press that initial fears were quickly dispelled once the cameras started rolling. 

Bardem said: “You're always nervous when you're touching such as classic, but since I read it, I knew who was behind the camera, Robert [Marshall - director] and John [DeLuca - producer], I was absolutely sure they were going to make something fantastic, I didn't know it was going to be this fantastic.”

This new Little Mermaid has been praised for the diversity in its casting, and Bardem was on board for re-imagining the childhood favourite for a new generation. 

He elaborated: “When we revisit the classics, we are bringing into it a new kind of flavour according to the times we live in. For example, the inclusion, the different scenarios, different people's faces, different races, and also them empowering women. 

“Ariel is a young woman that is fighting for being the woman she wants to be, the woman she wants to become. So those things are important to say I think.”

Feeling overwhelmed by the daunting task of bringing The Little Mermaid to the big screen once again was a feeling co-star Melissa McCarthey definitely sympathised with. 

When asked how she felt when offered the role, McCarthy explained: “I think overwhelmed and nervoise and thrilled…I could almost not process it at first. But I mean, the original was so beloved and it’s a movie I’ve seen most in my life. I think to take it on at first, I’m like ‘Oh my god, what am I doing?’ but then you start to break it down like any other role.”

The actress continued: “I have such great compassion for Ursula, she’s funny and I love all of it. I love the hair, I love the make up. But what I also really thought about was, she’s broken, she’s damaged. All these fronts she puts up are to kind of hide what her vulnerabilities are. By the time we were shooting it, I was like ‘I’m completely in love with her’”.

The Little Mermaid follows the same story as the original with Bailey playing the part of Ariel, who longs to grow legs and walk among humans.

When sea witch Ursula catches wind of her desire, she offers to grant Ariel a pair of legs in exchange for her voice- but things aren’t what they seem.

The Little Mermaid is out in cinemas now.