Casting on the recent run of live-action Disney remakes has been nothing short of spectacular. Many probably doubted Will Smith’s ability to step into Robin Williams’ shoes as the genie from the lamp, but then Aladdin crushed at the box office and Smith got largely positive reviews. Emma Watson, meanwhile, was perfect as Belle in Beauty and the Beast, while Yifei Liu looks ideal as next year’s live action Mulan.
And then there is Rob Marshall’s The Little Mermaid, which has been making waves with its casting movies. The planned musical picked Halle Bailey for its lead role, and is reportedly circling Melissa McCarthy (The Kitchen) to play Ursula, the sea witch.
Today, DisInsider reported that One Direction standout Harry Styles officially signed on to play Prince Eric opposite Bailey’s Ariel, and while we can only treat this as a rumor until the studio officially confirms it, this didn't prevent Twitter from losing its damn mind.
There’s a lot of that. And this isn't even official. But there was tons of screaming. There were waves of denial (but, like, in the best way). Someone even made a mood board.
Social media basically had all of the bases cornered when it came down to the potential casting of Harry Styles as Prince Eric. It’s almost as if all of the Directioners had drafts Tweets at the ready just in case such a thing were ever to happen, because social media flooded with messages like so:
But naturally, there had to be haters. Like, who can say this with a straight face?
It has been fun watching social media melt down over the possibility that Harry Styles will actually play Prince Eric in the live-action take on The Little Mermaid. Because up to this point, the verdict has been split on these live-action Disney movies. The critics don’t love them – Jon Favreau’s The Lion King sits at 52% on Rotten Tomatoes, while Tim Burton’s Dumbo has a 47%.
But they make money. Lots and lots of money. Lion King currently claims $475 million in domestic box office, proving nostalgia can be sold.
So far, I think the casting on the updated The Little Mermaid is fantastic. But let’s hear these kids sing. Zendaya and Zac Efron held their own in The Greatest Showman. If Halle Bailey is eventually paired with Harry Styles, will they bring powerful voices to the story of a girl who trades her voice for legs? We shall see.
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