Casting Call: The Little Mermaid

Published March 21, 2014

In which we suggest who should star in the next big adaptation, remake, or historical film.

The Little Mermaid is the latest in a long line of live-action fairy-tale adaptations, from  Alice in Wonderland (2010) to Snow White and the Huntsman (2012) and the upcoming Maleficent. Sofia Coppola is reportedly negotiating to direct the project for Universal Pictures and Working Title, which had been previously attached to Joe Wright. Neither the studios nor Coppola have specifically clarified, but the unofficial word is that film will return to Hans Christian Andersen’s 1837 original tale instead of the 1989 Disney musical. Spoiler alert: this means no rousing renditions of “Under the Sea” and fishy little sidekicks like Flounder and Sebastian. This is welcome news given Coppola’s predilection for portraying privileged girls battling existential ennui, which is really what the Little Mermaid’s identity crisis boils down to.

Coppola has written all of her feature films to date, but she comes to The Little Mermaid solely as a director. Caroline Thompson (Edwards Scissorhands) is currently rewriting the script, which has already gone through previous drafts by Kelly Marcel (50 Shades of Grey) and Abi Morgan (Shame). Coppola is known for tackling more adult content and themes, and will no doubt bring an unconventional interpretation to this classic. Let’s not forget that this is the woman who infused the melodious sounds of The Cure into Marie Antoinette‘s pre-Revolution French court.

Andersen’s original fairytale is much darker than the Disney reboot, so Coppola’s version may not be all that kid-friendly. If she follows the original, she’ll have to contend with its tragic ending, given that the little mermaid does not actually marry the prince and instead dissolves into sea foam. Reportedly, the studios intend to move quickly. To help them do so, we’ve selected a cast that we think would do justice to both Andersen’s original and Coppola’s vision.

Casting Call runs every Friday. For more, click here.