Live-Action Little Mermaid Movie News

In my "Little Mermaid" origins post, I mentioned that there were three live-action movies in the works based on the beloved Hans Christian Andersen tale. Since then, a few announcements have been made about all three of these movies. One of them has a theatrical release date, and it's sooner than you might think. The circus-themed indie movie that's had a trailer out for several years now is coming to select AMC theaters on August 17th. That's in two months! I wish I could be more excited about it, but the plot looks a lot closer to the 2006 tongue-in-cheek teen mermaid movie Aquamarine than the fairy tale that it's named after. The trailer focuses on how a little girl's belief in mermaids has the potential to save the aquatic heroine who is held captive in a tank at a carnival. I've been feeling indifferent about this adaptation ever since the first trailer was released, but it's nice to know that I will have the option to see it on the big screen very soon.

Then, of course, there's the Disney live-action remake cash cow version, which has been on the backburner for almost as long as the indie one. Around this time last year, Disney announced that they had hired Lin-Manuel Miranda of Hamilton and Moana fame for the upcoming project. Here we are one year later, and they still haven't cast anyone yet. They are clearly taking their time, but that's understandable for something that would be so problematic to film in real life. Yesterday, the project sparked some controversy when it was announced that Disney would be considering actors of color for the film. The keyword here is "considering." No decisions have been made, so there's no need for people to get all up in a tizzy over it, and yet some did. The very same thing happened when an Asian actress was cast to play Ariel on Broadway, which I've written about previously. The whole thing was ridiculous because anyone who has ever seen a Broadway musical knows that they are cast based solely on talent. Broadway is color blind, and it's about time that Hollywood is too.

Not only do I disagree that considering all actors who audition for a role is controversial, but I also think it's a silly thing to make an announcement about it at all. Yes, I want to find out who they cast in the lead roles when the time comes, but right now they're just stirring up intrigue over nothing. After all, auditions are for anyone who wants the part. They can't discriminate before they've even looked at their options. Ariel is my favorite Disney character, and I don't care what sort of background the actress who plays her has as long as she can sing. That was the biggest problem with their Beauty and the Beast remake. Emma Watson was obviously autotuned throughout the whole movie, and they added mediocre new melodies like "Days in the Sun" in lieu of the beautiful Broadway number "Home" because Emma would not have been able to handle it.

Some popular casting rumors that have been flying around lately for Ariel include Zendaya and Ariana Grande. I'm a pretty big fan of Zendaya thanks to her brilliant performance on the Disney Channel show K.C. Undercover, and I would not be disappointed if she got cast as my favorite mermaid. It would be a little different to hear "Part of that World" in Zendaya's soulful singing style, of course, but change isn't always a bad thing. Ariana Grande, on the other hand, is not the best actress, as she proved in NBC's live production of Hairspray, even though she can sing well. I personally could not see her in the role, but I did love Patty Cake Production's music video that set Ariana Grande's songs to scenes from Disney's The Little Mermaid. In my opinion, the best thing they could do is cast a talented musical theater performer who is a fresh face that most people wouldn't recognize at first. That is, after all, how Jodi Benson got the role in the original animated film. Unfortunately, considering their track record with live-action casting so far, it seems unlikely that they will go that route.

The final piece of the puzzle is the Universal Studios production that was supposed to star Chloe Grace Moretz and be directed by Sofia Coppola. Last year, both Chloe and Sofia bailed on the production. Once again, a full year has passed, and they still have not been replaced yet. That's a pretty telling sign that this movie is probably not going to happen. Sofia Coppola claimed that the movie became too large scale, rejecting her ideas to film underwater and making it more about a business venture than art. If that's true, it's possible that Universal realized they wouldn't be able to compete with Disney, who announced that they were working a production of the fairy a little after Universal did. Perhaps they're planning on waiting until a few years after Disney's movie comes out so they can build an adequate level of hype for their own, whenever that might be.


Anonymous said…
Ariana Grande must be Ariel!

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