Melissa McCarthy revealed that drag queens inspired her upcoming role as Ursula in The Little Mermaid live-action film.
On 26 May, Disney fans will finally be treated to the highly anticipated remake of the beloved animated feature.
Led by Chicago director Rob Marshall, the film is set to feature an all-star cast, including multi-hyphenate talent Halle Bailey as Ariel, Javier Bardem as King Triton, Daveed Digs as Sebastian, Awkwafina as Scuttle and Jonah Hauer-King as the dreamy Prince Eric.
However, one character that fans are eager to see in the live-action remake is McCarthy’s rendition of the iconic and messy sea witch Ursula.
In a recent interview with Entertainment Weekly, the Gilmore Girls star opened up about playing the unforgettable character.
“She’s the villain, but there’s such an edge to her. She’s been put in this lair. It’s like she’s had too many martinis alone. Her friends are eels,” she jokingly explained.
“That is a woman who has seen it, been in it, dug her way back out. All my references are terrible, but I kept thinking, ‘Many a Pall Mall has this woman had.”
Elsewhere in her interview, McCarthy revealed that she “100 percent” looked toward drag queens, like the legendary Divine, for inspiration.
“I’m a huge, huge fan of drag shows and the whole art of it and the entertainment of it,” she said. “I’ve been going to shows since I was not supposed to be going to shows.”
View this post on Instagram
Lastly, McCarthy also admitted to tapping into her inner drag queen Miss Y, a persona that she used to perform under in the New York club scene.
“There’s a drag queen that lives in me. I’m always right on the verge of going full-time with her,’ she said.
“To keep the humour and the sadness and the edginess to Ursula is everything I want in a character – and frankly, everything I want in a drag queen.”
Since her inception, the character of Ursula has always had drag roots.
In Disney+’s documentary Howard, Rob Minkoff opened up about the initial designs of the sea witch and how Divine played a massive role in her creation.
“I was designing Ursula. In the script, she was described as a Joan Collinsesque character, so all the designs were a very thin, high cheek-boned woman with black hair – a kind of punk biker mumma. She was really freaky,” he explained, as reported by Radio Times.
“I did a design based on Divine [drag queen], and that design was put on a board with other designs. When Howard Ashman came in to look at the designs he zeroed in on that one.”
Watch the latest trailer for The Little Mermaid live-action film here or below.