Disney On Board to Make Live Action Little Mermaid

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Disney will Make it’s Own Live Action Adaptation of The Little Mermaid.

When Universal announced it would be making a live action adaptation of Hans Christian Anderson’s The Little Mermaid, my heart dropped. After all, if anyone was going to bring the little mermaid to life it should be Disney.

Well Disney fans have a reason to rejoice, the studio will be making it’s own live action mermaid film after all.


The Music

Disney has created perhaps one of the most musically talented power couples of all time by enlisting Hamilton’s Lin-Manual Miranda and famed songwriter Alan Menken to write the songs for the film. Menken and Miranda will write the songs together, while Marc Platt of Bridge of Spies, will work with Miranda to produce the studios live action version of the Hans Christian Anderson tale.

Disney’s live action version of The Little Mermaid will incorporate pre-existing songs from the 1989 animated classic, for which Menken won two Oscars. He shared Best Song with the legendary Howard Ashman, and won Best Score on his own. Menken has won eight Oscars in his musical career.

This is the third partnership between Miranda and Disney. The actor worked on the music for the Disney animated feature Moana, and is set to star in a Mary Poppins sequel also staring Meryl Streep, Emily Blunt and Ben Wishaw. Miranda holds a special place in his heart for The Little Mermaid, naming his son Sebastian after the musical crab in the film.


Live Action Overhaul

Disney has had huge successes with it’s live action adaptations in recent years starting with 201o’s Alice in Wonderland. The film grossed over $1 billion dollars worldwide, and is still the studio’s highest earning live action adaptation. The studios 2014 adaptation of Sleeping Beauty, Maleficent, earned over $700 million worldwide, and cost $175 million to make. Since then, Disney has had successes with The Jungle Book ($947 million) and Cinderella ($543 million).

As a result the studio has ordered a staggering number of live action adaptations including:

  • Beauty and the Beast (2017) starring Emma Watson, Dan Stevens, Luke Evans & Josh Gad
  • Mary Poppins Returns (2018) starring Emily Blunt, Lin Manual Miranda and Meryl Streep
  • Cruella (2018) starring Emma Stone
  • Dumbo with Director Tim Burton
  • Jungle Cruise starring Dwayne Johnson
  • A Tinker Bell project staring Reese Witherspoon
  • Maleficent 2 starring Angelina Jolie
  • The Junlge Book 2 with director Jon Favreau

No release date has been announced for The Little Mermaid project yet.

Chloe Grace Moretz Little Mermaid

The ‘Other’ Little Mermaid

In 2015, Universal announced it would be releasing a live action adaptation of The Little Mermaid. The film was to be directed by Sofia Coppola, and would star Chloe Grace Moretz of Kick-Ass fame. The film has been riddled with controversy as Sofia Coppola walked away from the project. In 2015, six months after dropping out of the project, Coppola gave the following statement to TheWrap,

“We didn’t agree creatively about how to do it, so I didn’t want to continue. As we were getting closer, it just wasn’t the right fit for what they needed for that project and the way I work. I decided to do something in a smaller scale, the way I like to work.”

It’s also been rumored that Coppola wanted an unknown to play the titular role, while Universal wanted an established star. Richard Curtis of Love Actually has been hired to write the script for the film, which will be based on the Hans Christian Andersen story not the Disney animated classic.


Hans Christian Anderson’s Dark Tail

Unlike Disney’s version, the Hans Christian Anderson tale is rather dark. A young mermaid wishes more than anything to pay a visit to the world above. On her 15th birthday, she finally gets the opportunity to rise up to the surface, only to come across a birthday celebration on a ship in honor of a handsome prince. A violent storm passes through, causing the man to be thrown from the ship where the mermaid rescues him before he can drown. Sounds familiar so far, but this story takes a dark turn.

After lugging his heavy body to shore, the mermaid watches as another women takes credit for her labor intensive work. In love with the prince, the mermaid returns to the sea and seeks out the help of a sea witch. She exchanges her beautiful voice/tongue for the ability to walk among the humans. Oh, side note, every time she walks it feels like a sword is being passed through her body. Despite the insurmountable pain, she dances for the prince every night for his enjoyment. Flash forward, and despite all she’s given up, the prince is in love with the woman who he thinks saved his life. Not the little mermaid. The prince and the plagiarizer are wed, and the little mermaid can never return to the sea again.

Here’s hoping that Disney’s live action adaptation follows the studio’s original story line more closely than the Hans Christian Anderson tale.

Michelle McKinley is a journalist and digital marketer from Los Angeles, CA. She earned her Journalism degree from Pepperdine University, and has been writing for the web since 2003. She’s a life-long Disney fan who travels and writes about her experiences for fun.

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