The Hollywood Reporter states that Harry Styles is in early negotiations to play Prince Eric in Disney’s live-action remake of ‘The Little Mermaid’. The studio kicked up a real sh** storm two weeks ago when African American actor/singer Halle Bailey was announced as playing Ariel. Reportedly, Melissa McCarthy is in talks to play the film’s villain, Ursula. Jacob Tremblay has been signed on to voice Ariel’s fish friend, Flounder, while Awkwafina is set to voice seagull, Scuttle.
The picture will be directed by Rob Marshall who previously helmed two other live-action musicals for Disney, ‘Into the Woods’ and last year’s ‘Mary Poppins Returns’. He also helmed Disney’s non-musical ‘Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides’. Alan Menken, who won Academy Awards for Best Score and Best Original Song (for “Under the Sea”) for the original 1989 animated version, is back for the remake and is working with Lin-Manuel Miranda on new music. Miranda wrote new lyrics to Menken’s music. Coming full circle, Miranda also co-wrote music for and co-starred in ‘Mary Poppins Returns’.
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Styles is best known for having been a member of the global phenomenon boyband One Direction. His 2017 self-titled solo album went multi-platinum and his single “Sign of the Times” was also certified multi-platinum and went to #1 in the UK and Australia and #4 in the US.
Also in 2017, he made his acting debut in the movie ‘Dunkirk’, which won three technical Academy Awards. He was recently said to be in consideration to play Elvis in a biopic to be directed by ‘Moulin Rouge’s Baz Luhrmann, but that role went to Austin Butler.
Christopher Daniel Barnes voiced Eric in the 1989 animated classic. Incidentally, Eric did not sing in that film, although he does in the Broadway musical version.
Production on ‘The Little Mermaid’ is expected to kick off in April 2020.