Melissa McCarthy Explains Ursula’s Drag Inspiration in The Little Mermaid

In a recent interview with The Hollywood Reporter, Oscar nominee Melissa McCarthy has opened up about her preparation to portray the villainous Ursula in Disney’s live-action adaptation of The Little Mermaid. She revealed that drag queens were one of her main inspirations for the fan-favorite sea witch.

“There’s something about Ursula, it’s that irreverent humor, it’s that bite, it’s her vulnerability, it’s her hurt, it’s how you cover, like what is your armor,” McCarthy explained. “I think Ursula it’s her makeup, it’s her stance, her posture, her acerbic wit,” the star said. “I think that’s what drag does so well and I think we’ve been doing it since the beginning of time so I certainly don’t want to stop now.”

McCarthy isn’t alone in her drag comparison. In fact, Ursula herself was inspired by famous drag queen, Divine.

Who’s Involved in The Little Mermaid?

The Little Mermaid is directed by Rob Marshall from a screenplay written by David Magee, based on the iconic 1989 animated film of the same name. The live-action movie features Halle Bailey as Ariel, Jonah Hauer-King as Prince Eric, Melissa McCarthy as Ursula, Javier Bardem as King Triton, Awkwafina as Scuttle, Daveed Diggs as Sebastian, Jacob Tremblay as Flounder, and Noma Dumezweni as Queen Selina .

The upcoming film has paired up Lin-Manuel Miranda and Alan Menken to create a blend of both beloved songs from the original and new music. Miranda and Marshall also worked together on Mary Poppins Returns.

“The youngest of King Triton’s daughters and the most defiant, Ariel longs to find out more about the world beyond the sea and, while visiting the surface, falls for the dashing Prince Eric,” says the synopsis. “While mermaids are forbidden to interact with humans, Ariel must follow her heart. She makes a deal with the evil sea witch, Ursula, which gives her a chance to experience life on land but ultimately places her life — and her father’s crown — in jeopardy.”

Disney’s animated The Little Mermaid made over $211 million at the box office and became a bestseller on home video, popularizing songs like “Under The Sea” and “Part of Your World.” The upcoming film is based on the short story by Hans Christian Andersen and the 1989 Disney animated film by Ron Clements and John Musker.

The live-action adaptation is scheduled to arrive in theaters on May 26.