Disney's The Little Mermaid (Live-Action Remake)

Jake Lipson

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Deadline also says this:

Deadline said:
Styles was one of the contenders to play Elvis Presley in Baz Luhrmann’s movie. He was waiting to see if he landed that role after testing for it, before committing to Little Mermaid. As Deadline exclusively reported, Austin Butler won the role of Presley.
If he got close to starring in a Baz Luhrmann Elvis biopic, that also says something about his talent, because that's an even bigger role than Eric will be. He wouldn't have been able to seriously contend for that if he wasn't talented.

https://deadline.com/2019/07/harry-styles-in-talks-for-disneys-little-mermaid-1202647244/
 

Johnny Angell

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I don't know One Direction or Harry, but he is has the chops for the role, great. And having an interracial romance is fantastic. I mean, why not? The story is already about cross-species romance (which literally no one has an issue with), so interracial shouldn't be that much of a stretch.
The inter-racial romance is great and I hope we get to the point where we hardly notice.
 

Jake Lipson

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I hope we get to the point where we hardly notice.
I think it's designed for us to notice. Triton (who will presumably be black) forbidding Ariel to be with a white guy is going to take on an extra contextual dimension that it didn't have in the animated version where Ariel and Eric are both white, and they'd be foolish not to use that in the storytelling. They need to lean into the cultural differences and how Ariel and Eric bridge that gap.
 

Johnny Angell

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I think it's designed for us to notice. Triton (who will presumably be black) forbidding Ariel to be with a white guy is going to take on an extra contextual dimension that it didn't have in the animated version where Ariel and Eric are both white, and they'd be foolish not to use that in the storytelling. They need to lean into the cultural differences and how Ariel and Eric bridge that gap.
I think the difference between two different species is big enough. The cultural differences could be between down below and up above. Of course, maybe that would be a metaphor for our society today. This brings to mind the question was the script locked down when she was cast and did the script required a black Ariel or is it just color blind casting?
 

Jake Lipson

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did the script required a black Ariel or is it just color blind casting?
Obviously, we don't really know, but I suspect the latter. That doesn't mean they can't use the racial element to the movie's advantage, which I think they absolutely should.
 

Jake Lipson

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Assuming that all the people in talks close their deals, the cast currently stands as:

Hailee Bailey as Ariel
Harry Styles as Eric
Melissa McCarthy as Ursula
Javier Bardem as King Triton
Jacob Tremblay as Flounder
Awkwafina as Scuttle

This leaves the following roles TBA:

Sebastian [I strongly suspect Lin-Manuel Miranda will do this, but that's never been made official]
Louis, the chef
Flotssam and Jetsam
All of Ariel's sisters
Eric's staff Grimsby and Carlotta [I think Carlotta should absolutely be Jodi Benson]
Vanessa
 

Jake Lipson

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Harry Styles has "respectfully declined" Disney's offer to play Prince Eric:

https://www.thewrap.com/harry-styles-little-mermaid-prince-eric/

The timing of this is interesting. I have no official confirmation of this, but I suspect that Disney wants to bring out the cast and make an announcement of the release date at their D23 Expo next weekend (August 23-25.) With Styles passing now, will they have time to recast Eric before the convention? They might have to bring out the rest of the cast and add him later, unless they have a very clear second choice who is willing to get their deal done quickly.
 

Jason_V

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Harry Styles has "respectfully declined" Disney's offer to play Prince Eric:

https://www.thewrap.com/harry-styles-little-mermaid-prince-eric/

The timing of this is interesting. I have no official confirmation of this, but I suspect that Disney wants to bring out the cast and make an announcement of the release date at their D23 Expo next weekend (August 23-25.) With Styles passing now, will they have time to recast Eric before the convention? They might have to bring out the rest of the cast and add him later, unless they have a very clear second choice who is willing to get their deal done quickly.
A lot of possibilities for when the announcement comes, but I agree: D23 is probably when it will happen. There is a secret project panel on Saturday and rumor has it no one has accurately guessed what it's about...that could be Little Mermaid-centric. Also, there's a Little Mermaid 30th pane on Sunday...that could be where it's revealed...if D23 is gonna be the place, that is.

I am going to be doing everything I can to get into that Secret Panel, regardless of what it is.
 
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Jake Lipson

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Daveed Diggs, who won a Tony for Hamilton and co-wrote and starred in the terrific movie Blindspotting last year, is in talks to play Sebastian.

https://deadline.com/2019/10/daveed-diggs-the-little-mermaid-cast-disney-1202755680/

I'm all good with this. I expected Lin-Manuel Miranda (who is producing the movie and writing lyrics for the new songs) would want to play Sebastian himself, because the original is one of his favorite movies and he named his son after the character, so I'm surprised it's not him. But Diggs is an absolutely phenomenal choice, and I can't wait to hear him in this role.

For those of you who may be unfamiliar with him, here he is as lead singer of "What'd I Miss" from Hamilton as Thomas Jefferson.

 

Jake Lipson

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Here's Jonah Hauer-King performing Hallelujah.


We know Alan Menken is writing new music for the movie with lyrics by Lin-Manuel Miranda. I expect one of their goals is to give Eric a song, which of course he didn't have in the original film

As an aside, based on historical precedent, it does not seem like the new movie will use any of Eric's songs added for the Broadway musical, which haven't been used in the previous remakes. Also, those lyrics were by Glenn Slater, and he has not been attached to this film. So I think Menken and Miranda will give Hauer-King something new.

So I'm glad to hear this. I think he's pretty good.

Also, Entertainment Weekly has more information on him and his previous credits;

https://ew.com/movies/2019/11/12/ev...little-mermaids-prince-eric-jonah-hauer-king/
 
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Jake Lipson

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I just noticed that Lin-Manuel Miranda (who is writing lyrics for the new songs in the remake) tweeted this last week. (Vanessa is his wife.)

Lin-Manuel Miranda said:
Vanessa: What are you working on?
Me: Struggling w new King Triton lyrics in the apartment.
Vanessa: Triton? You’re in PR. Why don’t you get in the ocean with a fork.
Me: hahahaha good one honey
Me, 5 minutes later: AAAARRIIIEEEEEEELLLLL
The big takeaway here is that King Triton will now have a song. He doesn't sing at all in the original, so giving him something to sing is a natural extension.
 

Jake Lipson

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Disney has suspended production on most of its films, which isn't surprising. But a small throwaway detail in this article is surprising to me:

https://www.hollywoodreporter.com/h...-film-production-coronavirus-concerns-1284541

And that is in this sentence.

Aaron Couch of The Hollywood Reporter said:
The live-action remake of The Little Mermaid, which was nine days away from shooting in London, is among the big productions being delayed.
I hadn't realized the production was so close that it was going to start in nine days. Obviously, everything is now passed, but it's surprising to me that this was moving along to such a degree. There are still several key supporting roles yet upcast (at least as far as has been announced.)

By my count, we know:

Ariel - Hailee Bailey
Eric - Jonah Hauer-King
Sebastian - David Diggs*
Ursula - Melissa McCarthy*
King Triton - Javier Bardem*
Scuttle - Awkwafina*

Those starred were reported as in talks and it has not yet been confirmed that their deals closed.

Thus far unannounced characters include:

All of Ariel's sisters
Chef Louis
Carlotta, Eric's maid
Grimsby
Flotsam
Jetsam
Vanessa
 
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Jake Lipson

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There's a rumor going around that Kasey Musgraves might be in talks to play Vanessa:


It's interesting to me that they would need a singer to do this role, because if they stick to the plot from the animated film, she won't need to sing. Vanessa is Ursula in disguise using Ariel's voice, so Musgraves' voice would need to be dubbed over with Hailee Bailey's.
 

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