Harry Styles May Play Prince Eric In The New ‘Little Mermaid’ Movie, According To Reports
A former One Direction bandmate might soon romance Ariel. According to reports, Harry Styles might be playing Prince Eric in The Little Mermaid live-action remake. Variety and The Hollywood Reporter have reported that Styles is “in early negotiations” to depict the dashing prince in director Rob Marshall’s adaptation. If cast, the singer and actor would star opposite Halle Bailey, one half of the Chloe x Halle musical group, who had recently been cast as Ariel. Melissa McCarthy will also reportedly join the poor unfortunate souls as Ursula, according to various reports.
The live-action The Little Mermaid will include original songs from the 1989 animated classic. Additionally, the film will feature new tracks from original composer Alan Menken (who wrote classic tracks such as “Under the Sea,” “Part of Your World” and “Kiss the Girl”) with lyrical stylings by acclaimed Hamilton creator Lin-Manuel Miranda. If these reports are true, The Little Mermaid wouldn’t mark Styles’ first foray into the realm of film: the musician has starred in 2017 Christopher Nolan war film Dunkirk. Additionally, the British actor was reportedly on the shortlist to depict Elvis Presley in Baz Luhrmann’s upcoming musical biopic. The role ultimately went to Austin Butler.
A live-action of The Little Mermaid was first announced in 2016. In July of this year, Bailey was officially cast in the titular role of Ariel. In an official statement, director Rob Marshall said of the casting choice, "After an extensive search, it was abundantly clear that Halle possesses that rare combination of spirit, heart, youth, innocence, and substance — plus a glorious singing voice — all intrinsic qualities necessary to play this iconic role."
On social media, the grown-ish star confirmed the news with a photo of a dark-skinned and dark-haired Ariel. Bailey captioned that the role was a "dream come true."
Shortly after her casting, Bailey faced backlash from racist internet trolls who contended that Ariel should be a white woman with red hair. Following the controversy, Jodie Benson — who voiced the original Ariel in the 1989 animated classic — defended the young actress. Per USA Today, Benson said to fans at Florida Supercon, "I think the most important thing is to tell the story. We have, as a family, raised our children and for ourselves that we don’t see anything that’s different on the outside. I think that the spirit of a character is what really matters. What you bring to the table in a character as far as their heart and their spirit is what really counts.” She continued,
Additionally, Bailey has garnered the support of other celebrities such as Donald Glover, Yara Shahidi, and Nick Jonas.
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