Halle Bailey is set to make her mark in Disney’s live-action “The Little Mermaid”.

In an interview with Entertainment Weekly, director Rob Marshall talked about casting Bailey as Ariel in the film, and what he was looking for in the iconic role of Ariel. He also reiterated that there was “no agenda” in casting Bailey in the main role.

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“We just were looking for the best actor for the role, period. The end,” he said. “We saw everybody and every ethnicity.” Marshall explained that the “goal” was to find “someone who can be incredibly strong, passionate, beautiful, smart, clever,” and with “a great deal of fire and joy.”

The announcement that Bailey would be taking on the role was met with great excitement by audiences who felt represented having a black woman playing the classic Disney princess.

“I wasn’t anticipating that because, in a way, I felt like we’ve moved so far past that kind of thing,” Marshall admitted, “but then you realize, in a way we haven’t. It was very moving to me to see how important this kind of casting is for the world.”

As for what qualities he saw in the character that Bailey was able to bring to the table, Marshall said, “No. 1 is her passion — that fire is very important. She feels displaced and it’s really an epic story of finding your true self. But also there needs to be a great deal of joy. It’s a strange combination of innocence and wisdom, and a great deal of soul and heart. She’s very modern in that way.”

It helped, of course, that Bailey is also a great singer.

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“That voice is something that is so signature and so ethereal and so beautiful that it captures the heart of Eric, and he looks for her for the entire film,” he said.

Marshall added, “Halle still had that freshness in herself. As soon as we cast her, we were really thinking in terms of how we can make this her Ariel.”