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Original voice actor who played Ariel defends The Little Mermaid changing song lyrics to include consent

Rachel Lang

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Original voice actor who played Ariel defends The Little Mermaid changing song lyrics to include consent

Featured Image Credit: Instagram/Jodi Benson. Disney

The original voice actor who lent her incredible pipes to Disney's 1989 animated version of The Little Mermaid has defended lyric changes in the live-action film.

Famous tracks such as 'Kiss the Girl' and 'Poor Unfortunate Souls' have been altered slightly for this year's live-action film to emit a more modernized outlook for the film.

Jodie Benson praised the efforts taken by those at the helm of the 2023 movie for their work on updating the classic.

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Benson sat down with Entertainment Weekly to underpin why it was so important to refresh the script for the live-action film.

"We're [started] our [voiceover] sessions in 1986 [for the original film]," Benson said.

"It's 2023, so we have to grow, we have to learn, we have to be aware of our surroundings.

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"We've got to be aware of our growth as humans and what's important now and what maybe isn't as important.

"Things change.

"We've got to roll with that."

She went on to congratulate director Rob Marshall and producer John DeLuca for expertly walking the fine line between introducing a more modern point of view, while still remaining loyal to the 1989 Disney classic.

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Jodie Benson in 2010. Credit:  ZUMA Press, Inc/Alamy
Jodie Benson in 2010. Credit: ZUMA Press, Inc/Alamy

"[They] have done a beautiful job of doing that, and still paying tribute and honor to our original film," she said.

"But you've got to have growth. It's very important to stay relevant with where we are, what's going on around us. We need to be aware."

She added: "So the adjustments and the fine-tuning that they needed to do, it was a must, but it was done in a beautiful way, and I'm very, very thrilled with it."

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Composer Alan Menken explained to Vanity Fair the reason behind the lyric changes.

"There are some song 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.

Menken added: "We have some revisions in 'Poor Unfortunate Souls' 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."

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It's not the first time the studio has opted to give their 'Disney Princesses' stronger character profiles that reflect a more modern point-of-view for the live-action remakes.

Live-action Belle, played by Emma Watson, was given more agency and independence in the updated movie version of Beauty And The Beast after Disney made her an inventor.

The Little Mermaid drops in cinemas on 25 May, 2023.

Topics: Film & TV, Disney, Music, Film and TV, Entertainment, Celebrity

Rachel Lang
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