‘The Little Mermaid’: Melissa McCarthy in Early Talks to Play Ursula

     June 28, 2019

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The Disney live-action machine is happily churning away. After scoring a hit with Aladdin and being on track to make loads of money with The Lion King (no one shall speak of Dumbo), the studio isn’t slowing down, and now they’ve got their eye on Melissa McCarthy for the live-action remake of The Little Mermaid.

According to Variety, McCarthy is in early talks to play the role of the villain, Ursula the Sea Witch. For those who haven’t seen the 1989 animated classic, the film is about a mermaid, Ariel, who wants to live among people, especially the handsome Prince Eric, despite the wishes of her father Triton. Ursula, an undersea hustler of sorts who has a garden of Mitch McConnells, offers Ariel the chance to be human in exchange for her voice. If Ariel can get Eric to fall in love with her in three days, she gets to keep her legs and her voice. If she loses, she joins the garden of Mitch McConnells.

Rob Marshall, who previously directed the sequel Mary Poppins Returns, is on board to helm The Little Mermaid working from a script by Finding Neverland writer David Magee. The producers are looking to make “contemporary and compelling casting choices, while still paying homage to the beloved animated original.” Lin-Manuel Miranda has teamed up with original songwriter Alan Menken to pen some new tunes for the remake as well.

On the surface, these things seem great. But the one-two punch of Aladdin and Beauty and the Beast make me not care. Perhaps The Lion King will redeem things, but right now the purpose of these live-action remakes seems to A) address bad faith concerns put forward by YouTubers; B) add exposition that no one asked for; and C) bring nothing worthwhile to the table except famous actors and expensive VFX. Based off Mary Poppins Returns, a “sequel” that’s pretty much just a remake of the original, I’m not expecting much from this new Little Mermaid.

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