Why Harry Styles Turned Down Playing Prince Eric In The Little Mermaid Remake

Prince Eric in the animated Little Mermaid

Disney already has a sequel to Maleficent and a live action version of Mulan on the horizon, but the studio is also hard at work on yet another big remake. The Little Mermaid has reportedly cast most of its key roles, including our hero Ariel, and our villain Ursula, but one major role that has yet to be filled is that of Ariel's love interest, Prince Eric.

Harry Styles had been rumored to be in negotiations for the part, and at one point it was even said he'd been officially cast, but that rumor was shot down by the truth, which is that he turned the role down. In a new interview, Styles admits that discussions with Disney did happen, but he says right now he's more focused on his music than his acting career.

It was dis­cussed. I want to put music out and focus on that for a while. But every­one involved in it was amaz­ing, so I think it’s going to be great. I’ll enjoy watch­ing it, I’m sure.

Harry Styles doesn't go into too much detail with The Face, so it's not entirely clear how close the singer and Dunkirk actor got to joining the project. The rumors made it sound like it was very nearly a done deal.

Styles does say that he considers music and acting to be very different, nearly opposite, disciplines. In music you put yourself into the music. In acting you attempt to disappear into a character. From that perspective it makes sense why the former One Direction member might feel that he could only focus on one thing at a time.

Since Harry Styles passed on the part, the role of Prince Eric is still unfilled. 13 Reasons Why actor Christian Navarro revealed that has auditioned for it, and he's also made it quite clear that he wants the role, so if Disney likes him, then the decision has likely been made. Beyond that it's anybody's guess. Shazam! star Asher Angel also took a shot.

It may be some time before we really here anything. The fact is that while there are many reports about actors taking, or being in negotiations, for different parts in the film, the only official announcement from Disney is that Halle Bailey will play Ariel.

At this point, The Little Mermaid doesn't have an official release date so exactly how long the production has to nail everything down is unclear. With Cruella being bumped to May of 2021, we may not see The Little Mermaid hitting the screen until the summer movie season of 2022. If so, there's no rush to cast Prince Eric, as the movie likely won't be going in front of cameras for more than a year.

The Little Mermaid is expected to follow Beauty and the Beast, Aladdin and The Lion King, in being a true remake of the animated classic including being a full musical. Lin-Manuel Miranda is working on the film's music with Alan Menken.

Dirk Libbey
Content Producer/Theme Park Beat

CinemaBlend’s resident theme park junkie and amateur Disney historian, Dirk began writing for CinemaBlend as a freelancer in 2015 before joining the site full-time in 2018. He has previously held positions as a Staff Writer and Games Editor, but has more recently transformed his true passion into his job as the head of the site's Theme Park section. He has previously done freelance work for various gaming and technology sites. Prior to starting his second career as a writer he worked for 12 years in sales for various companies within the consumer electronics industry. He has a degree in political science from the University of California, Davis.  Is an armchair Imagineer, Epcot Stan, Future Club 33 Member.