Little Mermaid director explains original star's cameo

The Little Mermaid spoilers follow.

The Little Mermaid director Rob Marshall has opened up about a surprise cameo from the original animated movie star Jodi Benson.

The star famously voiced the role of Ariel in the 1989 film, with Halle Bailey taking over the character in the Disney live-action remake.

However, the new movie does feature a brief cameo from Benson, the actress portraying a woman at a market who hands a fork to the new Ariel.

jodi benson little mermaid
Alberto E. Rodriguez - Getty Images

Related: How The Little Mermaid differs from the Disney animation

Speaking about the cameo, Marshall told ComicBook: "Well, I won't say the person's name, but that person is a very old friend. I directed this person many, many, many years ago. I think maybe in either the late eighties or early nineties.

"And it's just, you know, when you have a connection like that with someone you really love and know, it seemed the right thing to do, especially if it can be done in an elegant way that doesn't stick out."

The director added of the particular moment in the movie: "I don't want to step outside the piece at all… We had written this role before [Benson] was cast in that little cameo.

scuttle, flounder, ariel, halle bailey, the little mermaid

Related: Does The Little Mermaid have a post-credit scene?

"So we thought: 'Oh, that's kind of a perfect way to do it. Really simple.' And just having a friend, an old friend on set with us and everybody was so excited to have [her]."

Elsewhere, Bailey has revealed that she went to a screening of the new movie unnoticed by fans, going in a mask and sunglasses as part of her disguise.

The Little Mermaid live-action is out now in the UK and the US. The animated movie is streaming on Disney+.

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