10 Actresses who could totally play Ariel in The Little Mermaid


EDITOR’S NOTE: This post was written in Nov 2017, long before the announcement of Halle Bailey as the titular character in The Little Mermaid.

As an Asian and a minority, I looked back and am embarrassed to realize that I allowed my own bias to curate this list of all-white women. I am happy with Disney’s casting decision and look forward to watching Halle Bailey step into the role of Ariel.

What I do not accept are the people who do not agree with this casting decision and make uncalled-for comments, particularly about race. All comments that are unkind will be deleted.

This post was also made before the Amber Heard & Johnny Depp court case. I am neither a fan of Amber Heard nor Johnny Depp, and most of all I am not a fan of unkind comments. All unkind comments about Amber will also be deleted.


Did you know that there’s not one, but TWO The Little Mermaid movie projects?

  1. The first is, of course, from Disney. Disney has had a few successful live-action adaptations like Beauty and the Beast and Maleficent recently, so of course they’re targeting well-loved movies. However, they haven’t announced anything else yet.
  2. The second is by Universal, who is making the original Hans Christian Anderson story (the one with the sad ending). But so far there’s been a few setbacks. Sofia Coppola (who directed Lost in Translation, The Bling Ring, etc) was initially attached to direct, but dropped out due to “conflicting reasons”. Actress Chloe Grace Moretz was attached to play Ariel, but she dropped out in 2016 to take a career break. So…

Poor little mermaid may not be finished anytime soon.

But in the meantime, I found a whole list of other actresses who just might become our latest mermaid princess darling!

Chloe Grace Moretz


At the end of 2015, Chloe mentioned via Instagram that she would be in a little mermaid live-action film. However, a year later, she decided to put a pause on all her projects so that she could re-evaluate her career, personal growth and emotional health.

“I want to reassess who I am and find myself within my roles again,” she explained.

This still means that Chloe might still don the fish tail and become princess of the underwater world… or it might not. It’s too early to tell?

Emma Stone


Emma Stone showed off her vocal range and dance moves in La La Land. Plus she’s a natural redhead, so playing The Little Mermaid might bring her back to her roots (heheh what a pun).

Since winning her first Oscar in 2017, Emma’s proven that she is popular, relevant, and can definitely sell box office tickets.

However, Emma has confirmed in 2016 that she has signed on to play a young Cruella De Vil in a Disney 101 Dalmatians origin story though.

Can you be a Disney villain AND a heroine? Who knows?

Emma Watson


Maybe another Emma could step (flip?) into the role of the Little Mermaid.

She may have already played a Disney princess Belle in 2017 Beauty and the Beast live-action movie, but that doesn’t mean Emma Watson can’t play a real-life mermaid either.

Emma sang her own lines in Beauty and the Beast, and clearly can dance too (Perks of Being a Wallflower, anyone?) so I think she would be flawless underwater.

Another factor about being a mermaid is being one with the ocean. Emma is already a real-life eco-warrior, championing eco-friendly brands like sustainable fashion and makeup products.

Plus her stunningly large fanbase won’t hurt. At all.

Rachel McAdams


Doesn’t Rachel in this reddish hair and glowing skin look like she’s already ready to play a mermaid? I’m not sure if 38-year old Rachel can play a 16-year old Ariel, but she certainly looks fresh-faced.

Plus, Rachel has an amazing acting range, and can totally delve into any role. She always manages to make any character her own (see: Mean Girls, The Hot Chick, The Notebook).

But she has never played any Disney-type roles, so that would be interesting. Rachel is also known for being very picky with her projects, choosing quality over quantity.

Isla Fisher


41-year old Isla may be a liiiiittle bit too old to play 16-year old Ariel.

But the magic surrounding Isla isn’t just that she’s got red hair and large eyes (although they certainly help) but her hyperactive personality.

Have you watched her behind-the-scenes videos in any movie she plays? Her expressions really mirror Ariel’s and she has this really vibrant personality that I feel would fit in well with Ariel. Go watch the behind-the-scenes videos for Confessions of a Shopaholic.

And in that sense, she is head and shoulders above most of the other actresses on this list.

Alyssa Milano


Who better to play the little mermaid than the OG Ariel? Ariel’s features were apparently modelled after a young Alyssa Milano. Alyssa herself confirmed it in 2013, on an interview on the Wendy Williams Show:

“They asked me to host ‘The Making of “The Little Mermaid,”‘ [Watch the awesome retro video here!] and it came out there that the drawing and likeness of the little mermaid was based on pictures of me from when I was younger.”

How cool is it that your photo was used to draw the character of one of the most beloved movies of all time?

Holland Roden


I have never heard of her before but when I saw her face I was like Oh. My. God.

She looks exactly like Ariel.

She only has a few acting credits including Teen Wolf, but many actresses have catapulted to stardom when a production studio takes a big risk. Remember Anne Hathaway who was a total unknown before The Princess Diaries?

However, I haven’t watched Holland’s acting myself, but some people on the Internet have commented that her acting is sub-par.

Lyndsey Fonseca


Lyndsey Fonseca played a kick-ass supporting role in Nikita opposite the gorgeous Maggie Q.

And if you watched How I Met Your Mother, you might recognize her as Ted Mosby’s daughter. But she’s mostly been in more dramatic roles like Nikita and Desperate Housewives, so I have no idea what she would be like in a light-hearted role.

Well who knows!

A young Lindsay Lohan


Well Lindsay Lohan herself thinks she would be a great Ariel.

Early this February, Lindsay pitched to Disney that she should star in their Little Mermaid movie. Writing on Instagram, Lindsay offered to play the title role, with Bill Condon (director of Beauty and the Beast) directing it and her sister Ali singing the theme song for the soundtrack. No reply from Disney.

Personally, I would love to see Lindsay grab an amazing role and make her comeback in Hollywood.

BUT… I don’t think The Little Mermaid is that right movie.

Amber Heard


Oh, Amber. She’s not had a very good year in the public eye, with a high-profile divorce with Johnny Depp amidst physical abuse claims.

Then she began dating, and later broke up, with Paypal billionaire Elon Musk.

BUT she has been filming for Justice League and Aquaman, playing Aquaman’s wife Mera, who is queen of Atlantis by the way. So she’s already got plenty of experience with filming underwater scenes.

However Amber has mostly taken sexy and edgy roles, so The Little Mermaid would be very different. Would she be interested in a role like this?

Who do you think would fit the role best?

Much Love,

Fari Wu


7 responses to “10 Actresses who could totally play Ariel in The Little Mermaid”

  1. holland roden please


  2. I think Julianne Hough would be perfect.


    1. Oh wow you think so? I have never considered her. I’ve also never seen much of her work. Who knows?


  3. I think that a young Kimberly Williams P. Would have been the perfect Ariel! But it’s too late for that…so I think Michelle Panabaker wouldn’t be too bad.


  4. Ale Ale Vargas Avatar
    Ale Ale Vargas

    I think that the little mermaid must definitely be Isla Fisher!!


  5. I think Lindsay Fonseca, with red hair, she would look exactly like Ariel


    1. Yes I also feel like Lindsay would be a pretty close call for Ariel. I’m also really curious to see her in more productions, because she was amazing in Nikita.


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