Disney’s Live-Action Remake of ‘The Little Mermaid’


Pamina Yung, Staff Writer

In March, ten days before the start of filming, Disney put their live-action remake of The Little Mermaid, a classic by Hans Christian Anderson of the same name, on pause due to COVID-19.

“While there have been no confirmed cases of COVID-19 on our productions, after considering the current environment and the best interests of our cast and crew, we have made the decision to pause production on some of our live-action films for a short time,” said Disney when making the decision to halt the production. “We will continue to assess the situation and restart as soon as feasible.”

The movie is to begin filming this month at Pinewood Studios in London with Rob Marshall as the director. A few of Marshall’s other works include Mary Poppins Returns, Chicago, and Into the Woods. Halle Bailey will play Ariel in the Disney remake, and Javier Bardem holds the role of Ariel’s father, King Triton of Atlantica. 

“I was in London at the beginning of the year about to start filming and of course this pandemic caused everyone to slow down,” said Bailey when updated about the recommencement of the production. “I actually welcomed it because I was really missing my sister who was here in L.A., so I was happy to get back to her, and I’m just so very excited for when we start back again.”

Lin-Manuel Miranda, the renowned creator of Hamilton, will compose the film’s music with Alan Menken, one of the producers of the song “Under the Sea” which was in Disney’s 1989 animated version of The Little Mermaid. Miranda holds The Little Mermaid dear to his heart and even named his son after the comical crab, Sebastian.

However, Anderson’s original tale was much more tragic than Disney’s adaptation. After rescuing Prince Eric, Ariel watched the credit for her hard work be stolen by another woman. Ariel then consulted a sea witch who transformed her mermaid tail into a pair of legs. Despite each step feeling like a sword running through her entire body, Ariel danced every night for Eric’s entertainment. But in the end, the prince fell in love with and married the woman he thought saved him, leaving Ariel forever unable to return to her home in the sea.

“We’re just in rehearsals. It’s been an absolute blast,” said Melissa McCarthy who plays Ursula. “Stepping into the world of Rob Marshall: it’s like a fever dream.”

Harry Styles was rumored to play Prince Eric, but he wanted to focus on his career as a musician, and the role ultimately went to 24-year-old Jonah Hauer-King.

“I want to put music out and focus on that for a while, but everyone involved in [The Little Mermaid] was amazing, so I think it’s going to be great,” said Styles. “I’ll enjoy watching it, I’m sure.”

Awkwafina will play a gender-swapped Scuttle the seagull, while Canadian child actor Jacob Tremblay will voice Ariel’s underwater companion, Flounder, and Hamilton star Daveed Diggs will be Sebastian. Fans are urging Disney to have Gordon Ramsay portray Chef Louis, the cook who makes a frustrated attempt to turn Sebastian into a dish. In addition, Emily Coates, known for being the character “Sister” in Netflix’s Cursed, recently joined the cast and is most likely going to play Ursula’s human persona, Vanessa, although her role has not been officially confirmed. 

The movie doesn’t have an official release date, nor have there been any official teasers or trailers, but filming is set to resume at least by this year. There is also a release date spot for an untitled Disney live-action movie on Nov. 19, 2021, which could be for The Little Mermaid, so the film might come out near the end of 2021.


Photo courtesy of THESOURCE.COM