NewJeans’ Danielle at Center of Controversy Over Dubbing Role in ‘The Little Mermaid’

the little mermaid newjeans
Credit: OSEN, ADOR

As the release of Disney’s live-action musical film The Little Mermaid draws closer, speculation surrounding the dubbing of the film’s main character, Ariel, is mounting among prospective viewers.

On May 2nd, Walt Disney Company Korea announced that musical actors Jung Young Ju and Jung Sang Hoon would be participating in the dubbing of the movie. To build anticipation, an event was held where a silhouette of the person who dubbed Ariel was revealed, and viewers were invited to guess who it could be.

Soon after the event photo and Korean dubbing trailer were released online, rumors began circulating that NewJeans member Danielle had provided the voice for Ariel, as her hairstyle and voice appeared to match the silhouette. However, the identity of the person who dubbed Ariel has not been officially revealed, and this has raised more concerns than expectations.

Many prospective viewers are worried about Danielle’s potential lack of accuracy in pronunciation due to her dual nationality as a Korean and Australian. Others are questioning whether it is appropriate for someone with no experience in voice acting to express a range of emotions solely through their voice.

In the past, numerous dubbing works have faced controversy due to “star marketing,” where popular idol members, comedians, actors, and others are used for marketing and publicity purposes instead of professional voice actors. Even before the protagonist of The Little Mermaid was announced, the film was already mired in controversy.

During the production process, The Little Mermaid has already faced controversy for excessive “political correctness” and “black washing” by casting black singer and actress Halle Bailey, who is different from the original animated series.

Amidst the various controversies, all eyes are on whether The Little Mermaid can overcome these concerns and capture the hearts of audiences.

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