In an interview with Entertainment Weekly, McCarthy shared a little bit more about her role as Ursula as fans gear up for the upcoming release of the live-action remake of Disney’s The Little Mermaid.
McCarthy explained how she drew inspiration from her love of drag artists, saying “Im a huge fan” of those in the industry.
I’m a huge, huge fan of drag shows and the whole art of it and the entertainment of it,” McCarthy said, noting that she has “been going to shows since I was not supposed to be going to shows.”
The star claims her inspiration for the iconic sea witch also drew from her own drag persona. Miss Y, whom she used to perform as under in New York City’s club scene.
“There’s a drag queen that lives in me,” she added. “I’m always right on the verge of going full-time with her… To keep the humor and the sadness and the edginess to Ursula is everything I want in a character — and frankly, everything I want in a drag queen.”
EW did a shoot with Melissa McCarthy for our 2011 comedy issue where she dressed as the drag queen Divine, who was the original inspiration for Ursula in #TheLittleMermaid. McCarthy now says she "100%" used drag to inform her performance. https://t.co/VNFkKjYlid pic.twitter.com/vdpAo4zJcu— Nick Romano (@NickARomano) April 4, 2023
The “Bridesmaids” actress even recalls Miss Y attending the popular Wigstock festival.
“It was the time of Lady Miss Kier, RuPaul, and Lady Bunny, and Miss Y was Missy’s great alter ego,” said Atwood. “When we went to Wigstock at Tompkins Square Park, Miss Y was at her prime there. Full-on. That was her time. It was hilarious.”
After the Little Mermaid cast was announced, critics of the live-action remake called out Disney's lack of LGBTQ+ representation in their decision to cast a cisgender woman as Ursula.
Fans of Disney’s 1989 animated version of the same story know that Ursula's appearance was largely inspired by American actor and drag queen Divine, who was best known for his frequent appearances in several films directed by filmmaker John Waters.
In addition to McCarthy, “The Little Mermaid” stars Halle Bailey, Javier Bardem, Daveed Diggs, and Jonah Hauer-King.
“The Little Mermaid” opens in theaters on Friday, May 26. Watch the full-length trailer featuring McCarthy’s character below:
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