Lin-Manuel Miranda may have earned multiple Tonys and Grammys, not to mention an Emmy and Pulitzer Prize, but all the accolades haven’t made him any less nervous about following in one of his musical hero’s footsteps.
As previously announced, the Hamilton creator is working on lyrics for new music for the live-action remake of The Little Mermaid — a tale so important to Miranda that he named his oldest son Sebastian partially in homage to the 1989 animated Disney film — alongside original composer Alan Menken.
Every writing session feels like a master class, Miranda told Billboard at WarnerMedia’s Television Critics Association party Wednesday night (July 24), where he was promoting his new HBO miniseries, His Dark Materials. In fact, he and Menken were Skyping right before the party. His love for Menken’s music started early: Upon learning that one of his classmates was related to Menken, a 12-year-old Miranda secured an autograph from the multiple Oscar winner.
Miranda was positively giddy about writing with Menken, though expressed his concern that no one could match the genius of Menken’s former writing partner, lyricist Howard Ashman, who died in 1991.
“I will definitely fall short because no one can write like that,” Miranda said modestly, before reciting the lyric “What’s a fire and why does it — what’s the word? — burn?” from Little Mermaid’s “Part of Your World,” and praising Menken for his brilliant simplicity.
Earlier this month, Disney announced that Halle Bailey of pop duo Chloe x Halle will play Ariel in the reboot. Miranda said he expected more casting news to come out at Disney’s D23 Expo, Aug. 23-25.