‘The Little Mermaid’ make-up designer Peter Smith King has clapped back at criticisms of the revamped Ursula look that actress Melissa McCarthy brings to life in the new live-action remake.
He specifically contends against a belief that a queer artiste should have landed the job.
Rob Minkoff, the character animator of the original 1989 film, pulled reference from the late drag performer Divine for Ursula, reports ‘Variety’.
When speaking with Time, Minkoff said: “Divine seemed like such a great, larger-than-life character, and it just seemed like a funny and quirky idea to take (Ursula) and treat her more like a drag queen.”
Since the first footage of McCarthy’s Ursula was revealed, Peter Smith King’s iteration of the aquatic villain has been met with criticism from some drag performers.
‘RuPaul’s Drag Race’ Season 14 contestant Kerri Colby responded to a video on Twitter, stating that “(this is) absolutely why we should hire up and coming queer artists with a pulse on the present and a vision for the future more often”.
Peter Smith King responded to the critiques in a recent interview with Insider. “I find that very offensive,” he said. “Why can’t I do as good a job as a queer makeup artiste?”
“That’s ridiculous. That’s trying to claim it and that’s fine, if that’s what they wanna do,” said King. “But don’t put people down because they’re not what they want it to be.”
When working on the look for the character, King said he had a close partnership with McCarhty. “We discussed everything. I mean, we both laughed about how much we love drag queens and drag makeup and stuff,” said King.
King also revealed that his Ursula wasn’t based on Divine like Minkoff’s: “It wasn’t based on any drag acts at all.”
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