Hi, I’m Rob Marshall, and I’m the director of ‘The Little Mermaid.’ So this is about two minutes into the musical number ‘Under the Sea,’ which was the most challenging musical number I’ve ever created because you have one live actor — I mean, there she is Ariel, played by Halle Bailey. And introducing dance into a sequence is so complicated because it has to feel seamless. It has to feel organic. It can’t feel applied. So right about here, as the turtles start to move, then you see, O.K., there’s a little bit of dance starting to happen. The tricky part about this was because I only had one live actor, I needed some dancers or something to work from. And I took a page out of Walt Disney’s playbook, and I worked with the Alvin Ailey Company. He had worked with the Ballet Russe Company when he created ‘Fantasia.’ And I thought that was such a brilliant idea. So I worked with the Alvin Ailey Company, brought them to London so we could create all these sea creature moves on something so our artists, our CGI artists, could actually use them as a template, which was incredible. And then we found all these sea creatures that actually lent themselves to dance naturally. These are all real sea creatures. So right there you have mimic octopus and flatworms. Here we’re moving into a bioluminescent world. We had the Alvin Ailey Company using umbrellas and, literally, ribbons, streamers hanging from them so that they could literally create this idea of jellyfish. But all of this, every moment of this was choreographed. And it was so complicated because everything was done on counts. It wasn’t sort of just like, well, let’s just let them do whatever they want. Every moment of it was strategically choreographed by myself, John DeLuca, and our choreographers. [‘UNDER THE SEA’]: — music to me. Music is to me — There’s one moment actually coming up here right here — [‘UNDER THE SEA’]: — hot crustacean band — — that, literally, the CGI artist said it’s the most creatures they’ve ever had ever onscreen. But it was really about protecting and celebrating this beautiful number. Here’s a nautilus shell that we tried to create a la Busby Berkeley. But I really just wanted to make sure that we were doing justice to this incredible number but also bringing a photoreal, exciting world to life.
Video: ‘The Little Mermaid’ | Anatomy of a Scene
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