Peter Smith King, the makeup designer for “The Little Mermaid,” has responded to critiques surrounding the updated look of Ursula, portrayed by Melissa McCarthy in the forthcoming live-action remake. King addressed the notion that a queer artist should have been chosen for the role.
- Oscars Predictions: Best Cinematography – Is ‘Oppenheimer’ the Frontrunner or Could Two ‘Killers’ Charm More Voters?
- ‘His Three Daughters’ Review: Director Azazel Jacobs Proves He’s Major in a Family Saga Starring Carrie Coon, Elizabeth Olsen and Natasha Lyonne
- ‘Haunted Mansion’ to Release on Disney+ in October
- Rachel McAdams Making Broadway Debut in Amy Herzog’s ‘Mary Jane’
- Variety and Chanel’s Annual Female Filmmaker Dinner Shines at Toronto Film Festival
Rob Minkoff, the character animator for the original 1989 film, drew inspiration from the late drag performer Divine when conceptualizing Ursula. Minkoff explained in a Time interview that Divine’s extravagant and larger-than-life persona influenced the character’s portrayal, taking on a humorous and quirky twist reminiscent of a drag queen.
Upon the release of the first glimpses of McCarthy’s Ursula, King’s interpretation of the iconic villain faced criticism from some members of the drag community. Kerri Colby, a contestant from “RuPaul’s Drag Race” Season 14, voiced her opinion on Twitter, advocating for the hiring of emerging queer artists who have a keen understanding of contemporary trends and a vision for the future.
King addressed these criticisms in a recent interview with Insider, expressing his displeasure: “I find that very offensive,” he stated. “Why can’t I excel as a queer makeup artist?”
He continued, “It’s absurd. It’s an attempt to lay claim to something, and that’s okay if that’s their perspective. But it’s not fair to denigrate people simply because they don’t fit the mold you envision.”
King emphasized his close collaboration with Melissa McCarthy while crafting Ursula’s look: “We discussed every aspect. We even shared a laugh about our mutual admiration for drag queens and drag makeup.”
Furthermore, King clarified that his vision for Ursula did not draw inspiration from Divine, unlike Minkoff’s rendition: “It wasn’t influenced by any specific drag acts at all.”