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Original Little Mermaid star defends the changes in the remake

Disney's original The Little Mermaid star Jodie Benson has spoken out about the changed song lyrics in the upcoming live-action remake.

Songs like 'Kiss the Girl' and 'Poor Unfortunate Souls' have had their lyrics tweaked to make Ariel's character less about wanting a man and more about wanting to have her own agency and see the wider world.

There's been a backlash from some, but as far as Benson is concerned, the changes aren't just welcome, but necessary.

jodi benson at disney d23 expo
Image Group LA

Related: The Little Mermaid remake review, does it live up to the Disney classic?

Speaking to Entertainment Weekly, the OG Ariel said: "We're talking about starting our [voiceover] sessions in 1986 [for the original film]. It's 2023, so we have to grow, we have to learn, we have to be aware of our surroundings.

"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.

"I think that Rob [Marshall, the director] and John [DeLuca, the producer] have done a beautiful job of doing that, and still paying tribute and honour to our original film. 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.

ariel in the little mermaid
Disney

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"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."

Another song change is that Ariel actually joins Sebastian in singing a bit of 'Under the Sea', with Daveed Diggs telling Digital Spy exclusively how that came about.

The Little Mermaid live-action movie opens on May 26 in the UK and the US. The animated movie is streaming on Disney+.

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