Harry Styles is the latest actor to go under the sea.
The singer-turned-actor is in early negotiations to play the iconic role of Prince Eric in Disney’s live-action remake of The Little Mermaid.
The pic, which is being directed by Rob Marshall, is in the throes of casting, having recently found its Ariel with R&B singer Halle Bailey of Chloe x Halle fame. Melissa McCarthy, Jacob Tremblay and Awkwafina are also in talks to be part of Disney’s world.
Eric is the human prince who catches Ariel’s eye. The mermaid saves the prince from drowning and then makes a deal with the sea witch Ursula to exchange her voice for legs in order for a chance to make him love her. He is key in the final battle against Ursula.
The casting of Styles and Bailey show the studio’s intent of making the music a central component of the remake. Interestingly, the character of Eric performed no songs in the 1989 animated original. That was remedied, however, in the 2000s Broadway musical, with Eric now performing several numbers, including two solos.
Styles was famously a member of the boy band One Direction who struck out on a successful solo career. He made his acting debut with 2017’s Dunkirk, Christopher Nolan’s World War II drama that grossed over $526 million worldwide and collected several Oscars.
The budding actor had been looking for a new project to take on and even tested for the lead in Baz Luhrmann’s upcoming Elvis Presley biopic. That part went to Austin Butler earlier this week.
The animated Little Mermaid won best original song and score Oscars for Alan Menken. For the new iteration of the fairy tale, Menken will update his score and compose a new song with lyrics from Lin-Manuel Miranda. An early 2020 production start is being planned.
Marc Platt, who worked with Marshall on Disney’s Mary Poppins Returns and executive produced the studio’s live-action Aladdin remake, is producing Little Mermaid. Marshall and John DeLuca are also producers, as is Miranda.