Lizzo Recalls Failed Little Mermaid Ursula Audition and Bonding With Melissa McCarthy

Disney’s live-action take on The Little Mermaid will finally arrive in cinemas next year after a lengthy delay. The film stars Halle Bailey in the title role, with a supporting cast including Javier Bardem, Jonah Hauer-King, Daveed Diggs and Melissa McCarthy. However, there could have been a different name among that list, as singer Lizzo also auditioned for the role of Ursula but ultimately lost out to McCarthy. The Good as Hell singer recently spoke to Variety about the missed opportunity and how it led to her bonding with Melissa McCarthy when they met later.

The Little Mermaid will be the latest entry in Disney’s catalog of remakes, adapting some of their most-loved animated classics into live-action blockbusters that have so far produced massive hits such as Beauty and the Beast, The Lion King and Aladdin. The Little Mermaid was initially released in 1989 and was seen as one of the first movies in the Disney renaissance that followed an uncertain period in the mid-80s when films like The Black Cauldron cost the company a lot of money for little return. With other films from the same era becoming the biggest of Disney’s recent releases, there is a high expectation for The Little Mermaid to do the same.


It is pretty well known that while Melissa McCarthy won the role of the sea witch Ursula, Lizzo was one of the others considered for the role. At the time, the singer even dressed up as the Disney villain and belted out a version of the song “Poor Unfortunate Souls” on social media to try and aid her cause. Although it was to no avail, the star does not feel too bad about missing out on the role and certainly had her own plans for the role. She told Variety:

“Everyone knows I auditioned for Ursula in [Disney’s upcoming live-action] ‘The Little Mermaid, ‘and I did not get it. But you know, I’m fine as hell. That has nothing to do with Ursula, but I was down to make Ursula a THOT, shaking ass. ”

The Little Mermaid Audition Led To Lizzo Bonding With McCarthy, When She Lied About How The Audition Went

Lizzo Plots to Steal Ursula Role from Melissa McCarthy in Disney's Little Mermaid

While there are some people who get bitter about missing out on potentially career-boosting roles, Lizzo certainly isn’t one of them. In reality, it’s pretty much the opposite, as when she bumped into McCarthy during the recording of Adele’s CBS concert special, it was as though they were already best friends. Lizzo did reveal, however, that she was not entirely truthful about her audition during that meeting. She said:

“She was like, ‘Hi, I’m Melissa,’ and I was like, ‘Hi, I’m Melissa.’ And I also auditioned for Ursula. ‘ And she was like, ‘Well, why the hell did I get the part ?,’ which is a classic Melissa McCarthy thing to say. And then I was like, ‘Girl, because my audition was terrible.’ And I say that as Tyler Perry walks by. And I was like – ruined my chances there. And then she goes, ‘This is my daughter Vivian.’ And I’m like, ‘Get out of here, because my name is Melissa Viviane.’ We were looking at each other like, ‘What the hell is going on?’ My audition was not terrible. Sometimes I like to make jokes. My audition was good. You can ask Disney. I do not want to talk too much about it. The singing was great. I’ll just say that. ”

Lizzo may not be getting to shake her thing as Ursula, but she does have a number of other projects in the pipeline, including her Amazon Prime Reality series, Watch Out for the Big Grrrls, and a new album. As for Melissa McCarthy, she will be appearing on the big screen as the villainous Ursula in The Little Mermaid next year.

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