The Little Mermaid has found its king.
Javier Bardem is in talks to play King Triton in the live-action remake of the Disney classic, The Hollywood Reporter has confirmed. He would join a cast that includes Halle Bailey as Ariel, daughter of Triton, and Harry Styles as the human Prince Eric.
Director Rob Marshall is behind the project, an update of the 1989 animated pic that won original song and score Oscars for Alan Menken. For the new film, Menken will update his score and compose a new song with lyrics from Lin-Manuel Miranda. 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.
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 original film. That was remedied, however, in the 2000s Broadway musical, with Eric now performing several numbers, including two solos.
Bardem won a best supporting actor Oscar for 2007’s No Country for Old Men. He will appear in next year’s Dune, Denis Villeneuve’s big-budget adaptation of the classic sci-fi novel. Bardem is repped by WME.
The casting comes as Disney is preparing to launch The Lion King, its third remake of an animated classic this year following Dumbo and Aladdin. It is expected to gross $150 million-plus in its opening weekend.