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‘The Little Mermaid’ remake updates original lyrics to include consent, songwriter says

<i>Walt Disney Co./Everett Collection</i><br/>
©Walt Disney Co./Courtesy Everett Collection
Walt Disney Co./Everett Collection
"The Little Mermaid" remake will reflect shifting attitudes to consent.

By Christian Edwards, CNN

The live action remake of “The Little Mermaid” will have updated lyrics to include consent, the songwriter has said.

The classic Disney movie, originally released as an animation in 1989, has been updated to reflect changing social attitudes towards consent, according to composer Alan Menken, who wrote the soundtrack to the original movie with Howard Ashman.

Songs “Kiss the Girl” and “Poor Unfortunate Souls” will include new lyrics to reflect this shift.

Menken collaborated with American songwriter Lin-Manuel Miranda on the live-action remake, which will premiere next month.

“There are some lyric 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 in an interview with Vanity Fair last week.

In the movie, Ariel makes a deal with sea witch Ursula to trade her beautiful voice for human legs so she can explore the world above water and impress Prince Eric. In the animated classic, Ariel must secure the kiss of “true love” within three days, or else she transforms back into a mermaid and will belong to Ursula. The song’s lyrics urge Prince Eric to kiss Ariel before it’s too late.

In the original lyrics to “Kiss the Girl,” Sebastian, Ariel’s crab pal, sings: “Yes, you want her. Look at her, you know you do. Possible she wants you, too. There is one way to ask her. It don’t take a word. Not a single word. Go on and kiss the girl.”

“Poor Unfortunate Souls” has also been revised, Menken said, because the original contained “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.”

“The men up there don’t like a lot of blabber. They think a girl who gossips is a bore,” sings Ursula in the original track.

“Yet on land it’s much preferred for ladies not to say a word. And after all, what is idle babble for?”

Ursula advises Ariel: “It’s she who holds her tongue who gets a man.”

The new lyrics to the songs have not yet been revealed.

The remake directed by Rob Marshall and is set to premiere in theaters on May 26.

It features Halle Bailey as Ariel, Melissa McCarthy as Ursula, Jonah Hauer-King as Prince Eric and Javier Bardem as King Triton.

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