For fans of Disney’s “The Little Mermaid,” Disney’s live-action remakes of their animated classics, and Harry Styles of the defunct boy band One Direction, we at Morgan Magazine advise that you sit down for this. Last month, it was reported that Styles was in talks to be cast in the “Little Mermaid” remake as Prince Eric. For many, that probably might be enough to offset the initial wobbly reception for this production when it chose R&B singer Halle Bailey as Ariel, a far cry from the Caucasian-looking red-headed mermaid of the animation. It had seemed like a done deal then.
But as CNN tells it, Harry Styles has ultimately said no to being cast as Prince Eric in Disney’s “The Little Mermaid” live-action remake. The fans are, understandably, upset. This was doubly so considering that earlier this week on Tuesday, August 13, AMC Theaters and Regal Cinemas had stoked the fandom’s excitement when they announced that the former One Direction member’s as good as gold for Ariel’s love interest in the in-development movie. Not long after AMC and Regal posted to that effect on their Twitter pages, the updates were deleted and replaced by a retraction. No Harry for Eric.
Although primarily known as a singer from his boy band start, Styles has exhibited some serious potential for acting, if the positive reception to his supporting role in Christopher Nolan’s “Dunkirk” back in 2017 was any indication. Disney fans were highly interested in how he might interpret Prince Eric for the “Little Mermaid” remake, only to be disappointed. And the bad part according to Hollywood Life is that the initial talks for Harry’s casting actually included as screen test with Bailey, which according to an anonymous source was pretty good. The fact that Styles was a fan of “Hamilton” creator Lin-Manuel Miranda, who is on board the production as songwriter, was yet another heavy blow.
While Twitter users were particularly bummed at the missed opportunity with Harry Styles on “The Little Mermaid,” some voices in the showbiz industry with ties to him have said their piece on the matter, while the singer himself has remained silent. In particular Simon Cowell, who helped form One Direction when the members once joined “The X Factor” individually in the UK, remarked that he may have thought Harry made a mistake in turning down the role…if it was for the 2016 “Jungle Book” remake directed by Jon Favreau. But as Cowell says, he has never seen the original 1989 animated “Mermaid” film so he is not sure if Styles was really a serious loss.
While “The Little Mermaid” is still a ways off from actual production, there is renewed speculation on who will pair with Halle Bailey’s Ariel as Prince Eric. Sore One Direction fans have proposed that one of Harry’s former band-mates be considered for the role instead.
Image from The Hollywood Reporter