One Direction singer Harry Styles is in talks to play Prince Eric in Disney’s new live-action Little Mermaid, according to Variety. The site reports that he’s in “early negotiations” for the role.
It’s unclear what other actors might be in talks to play Prince Eric, or when a final casting decision will be made. What we do know is that Halle Bailey will play Ariel. Melissa McCarthy is set to portray the evil Ursula. According to Variety writer Justin Kroll, discussions with Styles are “very early.” Kroll said it’s possible that Styles “may still be on the fence” about joining the movie.
Getting word now this is VERY early and Styles still may be on the fence. Stay Tuned. https://t.co/sTKwysNJwt
— Justin Kroll (@krolljvar) July 16, 2019
The new Little Mermaid is directed by frequent Disney director Rob Marshall, who previously directed Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides, Into the Woods, and Mary Poppins Returns. The film will use songs from the 1989 original movie, along with new ones from Disney legend Alan Menken and Lin-Manuel Miranda.
It was recently reported that Awkwafina (Crazy Rich Asians) and Jacob Tremblay (Room) are in discussions to play Scuttle and Flounder, respectively. This has yet to be confirmed, however.
As for Styles, he appeared in Christopher Nolan’s war movie Dunkirk. He reportedly tested for Elvis in Baz Luhrmann’s biopic, but the role ultimately went to Austin Butler.
Variety’s writer, Justin Kroll, said Styles was “the choice” for Prince Eric in The Little Mermaid for “a while,” but things got complicated when he tested for Elivs. “Styles was the choice for awhile but there were rumblings he was expected to pass, in hopes he would get Elvis instead,” Kroll said. “Sounds like he smartly held the offer until the ELVIS decision was made and went with his next option.”
Prince Eric had no songs in the 1989 Little Mermaid, but casting someone like Styles–who has singing chops–suggests the live-action movie may change that. In the 2000s Broadway version of The Little Mermaid, Eric has multiple songs.
The live-action Little Mermaid is expected to begin production in 2020. Disney’s next live-action reboot is The Lion King, which opens this week.