Melissa McCarthy belts out showstopping rendition of ‘Poor Unfortunate Souls’ in exclusive clip from 'The Little Mermaid'
Oscar-nominated actress admits singing Disney classic was "terrifying" and "insane" until she got some very sage advice.
Aside from her hilarious passenger’s seat rendition of Kelis’s twerk anthem “Milkshake” alongside Jason Bateman in the 2013 comedy Identity Thief, Melissa McCarthy hasn’t sung much onscreen before.
So the Oscar-nominated actress admits she was terrified to belt out the Howard Ashman- and Alan Menken-penned Disney classic “Poor Unfortunate Souls” as the villainess Ursula in the new live-action remake The Little Mermaid. (Watch a clip from the scene exclusively above.)
“It was terrifying. Insane,” McCarthy tells us in a new interview. “I was like, ‘Why am I doing this? What am I doing?’”
Whatever she did, it worked. From the scene’s debut last month in front of movie theater owners at CinemaCon to early reactions following last week’s premiere of the whole feature, McCarthy is scoring raves for her showstopping deal-with-the-devil number. Ursula uses the burlesque-esque tune to lure Ariel (Halle Bailey) into a deal where the young mermaid agrees to trade the sea witch her voice for the chance to become human.
“The process was so fun,” continues McCarthy (Bridesmaids, Can You Ever Forgive Me?). “I was really nervous and I couldn’t kind of shake the nerves. And [my vocal coach] said, ‘Well, you’re trying to sing really well as Melissa, and that’s never gonna happen.’ I was like, ‘OK, that's getting right to it,’” she says, laughing.
“And he goes, ‘No, you’re not, you’re not doing the role as you, but you’re singing as you.’ And I was like, ‘Oh.’ So then I knew how Ursula could sing. I couldn't possibly sing it as myself. So that really helped. But it was terrifying, but so fun. My god, so fun.”
“Poor Unfortunate Souls” was originally recorded by Pat Carroll, who voiced Ursula in Disney’s 1989 animated favorite.
Directed by Rob Marshall from a script by David Magee, The Little Mermaid of today also stars Jonah Hauer-King, Javier Bardem, Daveed Diggs, Awkwafina and Jacob Tremblay. Menken wrote three new songs for the updated version in collaboration with Hamilton and Encanto composer Lin-Manuel Miranda.
The Little Mermaid opens May 26.
Watch the trailer: