Deadline exclusively reports that Executives at Disney are believed to be in the early stages of reviving Hans Christian Anderson’s fairytale, The Little Mermaid, into a live-action feature.
The report believes that initial discussions have taken place with major producers, including some with a strong connection to the studio, after production chiefs were pitched a new take on the story and are currently evaluating whether to proceed with the idea.
Back in 1989 Disney released an animated feature version of The Little Mermaid, following the adventures of Ariel and provided memorable musical numbers during the new golden age of Disney animation and in recent years Disney have been bringing their animated collection into live-action form. Films in the scheduled in the live-action retelling pipeline include Alice Through The Looking Glass (27th May 2016), Pete’s Dragon (12th August 2016), Beauty and the Beast (17th March 2017), Cruella (starring Emma Stone), A Wrinkle In Time (Ava DuVernay directing), Jungle Cruise (starring Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson), Dumbo (Tim Burton directing), a sequel to Mary Poppins (Rob Marshall directing and stars Emily Blunt and Lin-Manuel Miranda), Maleficent 2 (Angelina Jolie returning), The Nutcracker and the Four Realms (Lasse Hallstrom directing), The Jungle Book 2 (Jon Favreau returning to direct) and a Tinkerbell project (starring Reese Witherspoon).
If the project reaches development stage, it will come into competition with the live-action retelling of The Little Mermaid from production company Working Title, who are partnered up with Universal Pictures and has Chloë Grace Moretz attached for the title role and Rebecca Thomas attached to direct. If Disney Execs move ahead with the project, could it possibly fast track the project to come out before the Working Title/Universal version? After all the Andy Serkis/Warner Bros. version of The Jungle Book had to be pushed back due to the overall praise, critically and amongst viewers, of Jon Favreau’s The Jungle Book, which has made $860m worldwide. In terms of a live-action version, I’ll admit I just assumed that the version with Moretz attached was the Disney version but that’s still in pre-production stages so maybe Disney if they jumped the gun now could get it out earlier than them.