UPDATE [August 13, 3:51pm]: Scrap the below. Just a few hours after the internet blew up with the news that Harry Styles was in talks to play Prince Eric in Disney’s live-action The Little Mermaid, now Variety is reporting that Styles has passed on the role (originally broken by The Wrap). Apparently, the original report that he was in talks was premature and Styles had already amicably passed on the role. Disney is reportedly looking at other candidates for the roles and a decision should be coming soon.
So…there’s that. Insert a shrug emoji here. We’ll update you as soon as the actual official casting breaks.
ORIGINAL ARTICLE [August 13, 1:25pm]: Disney’s live-action remake of The Little Mermaid has (almost) officially found its prince, and it’s a name that has been swirling around on the internet for months now: Harry Styles will be our new Prince Eric.
THR reported earlier today that Styles is in talks for the role, but a tweet from AMC – perhaps confirmation, perhaps not – seemed to confirm it was a done deal. That tweet has since been deleted, but here it is below:
Styles, who is best-known as having been the most popular member of British boy band One Direction (fight me, Zayn stans), has in recent years been trying to break away from his boy band status and into acting. He surprised audiences with his dramatic turn in Christopher Nolan’s Dunkirk in 2017, but since then he’s mostly been quiet. He was most recently one of the frontrunners to play Elvis in the upcoming Baz Luhrmann biopic, but the role ultimately went to Austin Butler.
Say what you want about Styles, but the boy can sing. With the previous casting of Halle Bailey as Ariel, Disney has indicated it wants leads with some serious pipes; Bailey has an excellent voice. Though Eric never sang in the original animated movie (he did in the direct-to-video sequels), it seems silly to think of Disney wasting singing talent like Styles’.It’s likely we can count on a new song being written for him, similar to Jasmine’s brand-new song for the live-action adaptation of Aladdin, particularly as it’s already been confirmed Lin-Manuel Miranda will be writing at least one new song. Worth noting is that there was a Broadway musical version that debuted in the 2000s where Eric sang quite a bit and even had a few solos – might Eric’s song be an adaptation of one of his songs from the Broadway version? We shall see.
The major casting for The Little Mermaid is just about in place. Jacob Tremblay and Awkwafina have been previously cast as Flounder and Scuttle, respectively. Melissa McCarthy is rumored to play the cunning sea witch, Ursula, while Javier Bardem is rumored to be in talks to play King Triton. Rob Marshall, who previously directed Mary Poppins Returns, will direct. Lin-Manuel Miranda will work on the new song, with an updated score from Alan Menken.
No release date has been set for The Little Mermaid yet, but an early 2020 production start date is the aim.