As The Lion King starts to make its way closer to its theatrical release, fans are already turning their attention to one of Disney’s next live-action remakes, The Little Mermaid. Currently in the middle of a casting frenzy, we’ve already learned about Melissa McCarthy circling the role of this new film’s Ursula, and music and acting sensation Halle Bailey being named as the next generation’s Ariel.
With the heat around this project already reaching fever pitch, it look like things are about to get even more exciting for fans of the Disney classic, as the role of Prince Eric has a pretty big name attached: Dunkirk star/One Direction band member Harry Styles.
The news comes not too long after Harry Styles saw himself in the mix for another big ticket role, that of Elvis Presley in director Baz Luhrmann’s biopic that also stars Tom Hanks as Colonel Tom Parker. However, with Austin Butler winning that coveted role in the long run, this offer for Harry Styles to woo Halle Bailey in The Little Mermaid seems to have come along at the right time.
While Variety was the source to break the story, a quick caveat was put out into the world stating that the negotiations between Styles and the invested parties at Disney are in very early stages. That means this whole prospect could be reversed as quickly as it was announced, which is exactly what today’s news cycle seems to be all about. Just as quickly signed Taika Waititi to write and direct Thor 4, Warner Bros announced that Akira’s long suffering live-action adaptation was going back on ice yet again.
Harry Styles fans will definitely want to keep their expectations in check, but at the same time, he’s a pretty fantastic candidate for Prince Eric in the Rob Marshall-directed adaptation of The Little Mermaid. His singing skills will certainly come in handy, and his performance in Christopher Nolan’s Dunkirk certainly showed that he has the chops to blossom even further into an acting talent.
If anything, The Little Mermaid seems to be building its foundation on the evolution of a lot of talented folks. Melissa McCarthy would be doing her first musical, and Halley Bailey would be granted her first big ticket film lead, so Styles’ potential drafting could make for a powerful connection between the budding cast. Jacob Tremblay and Awkwafina are also reportedly attached as Flounder and Scuttle, respectively.
Disney will more than likely keep making live-action remakes until they, quite plainly, stop printing money. Bringing Harry Styles on board as Prince Eric in The Little Mermaid is just one more step that’s intended to keep the studio mint in operation, and so far it looks like it’ll work. It’s all up to the deal-makers at this point, and as soon as something breaks, we’ll run it here on CinemaBlend the moment it happens.
In the meantime, The Lion King opens in theaters with early showings this Thursday night, with the presses warmed and inked to put more Disney Dollars into the studio’s billfold.