Melissa McCarthy talks Ursula, ‘The Little Mermaid’

Melissa McCarthy and Javier Bardem are well aware of how iconic and beloved their roles in Disney’s live-action “The Little Mermaid” film are — and they were more than prepared to do them justice.

Using her lifelong love of drag, comedy queen Melissa McCarthy played the deliciously evil sea witch Ursula in the new movie, a character that was originally inspired by drag legend Divine.

While Oscar-winning actor Bardem added some depth and nuance after taking on the role of Ariel’s (Halle Bailey) loving but overprotective father King Triton.

Out got the chance to sit down with McCarthy and Bardem to talk about what it was like channeling their characters, the drag origins of Ursula, King Triton’s “daddy” status, and more.

“I always go back to Divine,” Melissa McCarthy told Out when asked if she looked to any specific queens in particular when getting ready to step into Ursula’s tentacles. “Also I was always a big fan of Varla. There’s such a wink and a poke. It’s an homage to the woman you love, at the same time you’re almost making a little bit of fun of her, but with a good, sharp wit, a good heart.”

“I have always been, since my teens, a huge fan of drag,” she continued. “I think it’s an unbelievable art form, and I couldn’t separate that from Ursula.”

“There is a little bit more depth on the relationship between him and his daughter, yes,” Bardem told Out after being informed of Triton’s “daddy-ness” from internet fans before elaborating on the relationship he has with his beloved daughter Ariel. “It’s all about love. It’s about respect. It’s about really seeing the other rather than imagining or trying to figure it out. Trying to deconstruct the other in the way, shape, or form that we intend, which is about seeing the other and accepting that the other is different from us and accepting it and welcoming it.”

This article originally appeared on, and is shared here as part of an LGBTQ+ community exchange between Q Voice News and Equal Pride.

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Raffy Ermac

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