After much speculation, Harry Styles will not play Prince Eric in Disney‘s upcoming live-action remake of “The Little Mermaid” after all. Various news outlets confirmed that the former One Direction member respectfully declined the royal role. And as of now, Disney has yet to find another actor to take on the beloved character. Though there were a lot of names floating around social media, Harry Styles was probably one of the heavy favorites for the role. And just last month, Disney officially shared that the singer-turned-actor was in talks of playing Prince Eric opposite Halle Bailey as Ariel. Rumors also circulated at the time that Styles auditioned for the role of Elvis Presley for an upcoming biopic of the legendary singer. That role, however, went to Austin Butler instead, prompting many to believe that Styles will go for the Prince Eric role after all. Fans already thought he was confirmed for the part, but now, news outlets are reporting a different story.
Sources connected to both Styles and the production shared that while Styles really did consider playing the part, he amicably turned it down instead. Now, the producers and the director are currently exploring other choices for the princely role. They also announced that they’ll reveal their new choice soon. As of this writing, Halle Bailey remains the only confirmed actress to star in the live-action adaptations. Other actors who are purportedly connected to the project, such as Melissa McCarthy as Ursula, Jacob Tremblay as Flounder, and Awkwafina as Scuttle, have yet to be confirmed. Javier Bardem was also touted as a possible choice for King Triton. To this day, “The Little Mermaid” is the most controversial of all of Disney’s live-action remakes. The casting alone has drawn polarizing reactions from legions of fans. First, it was Melissa McCarthy as Ursula. Many noted that the comedic actress wasn’t fit for the campy, drag queen-like villainess of the film. The general public preferred the likes of Lizzo—who openly campaigned for the role—Queen Latifah, or even a real drag queen. However, all signs imply that McCarthy will star in the remake. Latifah, on the other hand, will play the role for ABC‘s live rendition for their “The Wonderful World of Disney” series.
Perhaps the most controversial casting decision was for the lead role. The studio chose a relatively unknown Halle Bailey as Ariel. An African-American actress, Bailey’s casting sparked a lot of criticism from passionate fans of the original animated classic. They cried foul at Disney for not casting a red-headed caucasian actress. It even sparked a hashtag, “#NotMyAriel,” which, among other things, had racist undertones. However, both the studio company and Bailey appear unfazed by the controversy. The actress recently shared that she’s not focusing on the negativity while preparing for the role. “I’m just grateful. I don’t pay attention to the negativity; I just feel like this role is something bigger than me. And it’s going to be beautiful. I’m just so excited to be a part of it.” she told Variety.
What do you think of Harry Styles’s decision? Who should play Prince Eric in the upcoming live-action remake of “The Little Mermaid”? Let us know your reactions by commenting down below. Image Credits:
- Harry Styles Featured Image – Spokesman.com
- Singer Harry Styles – Tampa Bay.com
- Prince Eric – Billboard.com
- Harry Styles Styles – Rolling Stone.com