Well, it turns out that Harry Styles won’t be going “under the sea” after all, as he has turned down the role of Prince Eric in Disney’s live-action remake of The Little Mermaid, Collider has confirmed.
Last month, Collider and the Hollywood Reporter simultaneously broke the news that Styles was “in early talks” to tackle the role after missing out on the plum part of young Elvis Presley in Baz Luhrmann‘s upcoming Warner Bros. movie co-starring Tom Hanks. Styles took a couple weeks to think it over, but ultimately, he was unable to reach a deal, and politely passed on the Disney project.
Halle Bailey, the young singer who represents half of the R&B duo Chloe x Halle, remains set to star as Ariel, the rebellious mermaid daughter of King Triton who longs to live on dry land. Oscar winner Javier Bardem is in talks to play King Triton, while Melissa McCarthy is in talks to play the villainous Ursula.
Elsewhere, Jacob Tremblay and Awkwafina are nearing deals to play Ariel’s friends, Flounder and Scuttle, respectively. Another key role that has yet to be cast is Sebastian the crab, though Hamilton creator Lin-Manuel Miranda is believed to be the frontrunner for the part, seeing as he’s producing the movie and already writing new songs with Alan Menken, the Oscar-winning composer behind the original 1989 animated film.
Rob Marshall (Mary Poppins Returns) is directing The Little Mermaid remake as well as producing alongside Marc Platt, John DeLuca and Miranda, and production is expected to start early next year. That gives them plenty of time to recast the role of Prince Eric, and according to TheWrap, they’re already close to naming Styles’ replacement.
Styles is the former One Direction sensation who made his acting debut in 2017 as a young soldier in Christopher Nolan’s WWII movie Dunkirk, though he has yet to settle on a follow-up project. I have heard that Warner Bros. is interested in him for Greg Berlanti‘s upcoming remake of Little Shop of Horrors, though he’s facing stiff competition in the form of Dear Evan Hanson star Ben Platt. Stay tuned to Collider for more updates on that monstrous movie musical.