Last week, we reported that Melissa McCarthy was in early talks to play Ursula in Rob Marshall’s live-action adaptation of Disney’s The Little Mermaid. THR now reports that negotiations are underway with Jacob Tremblay and Awkwafina. Per THR:
If deals make, Tremblay would give life to Flounder, Ariel’s best friend, who is a fish. Jason Marin voiced him in the 1989 original, and the character had singing duties in the Broadway adaptation.
Awkwafina would play Scuttle, the seagull friend of the red-headed princess. Buddy Hackett voiced the character in the animated movie.
For those who haven’t seen the original, Ariel is the eponymous little mermaid who dreams of living life among the humans, so she makes a deal with Ursula where Ariel trades her voice for legs. If Ariel can get Prince Erik to fall in love with her in three days, she gets to keep both. If she fails, she’ll be stuck as sad sea kelp for all eternity.
It appears that Little Mermaid is following the playbook of the other live-action Disney adaptations which is to land recognizable talent for the roles. Tremblay and Awkwafina are stars who have become incredibly popular in the last few years, so it makes sense to cast them in voice roles of Flounder and Scuttle, respectively. What’s interesting here is that they seem to be casting everyone around Ariel, which makes me wonder if they’re going to seek out an A-lister to take a role that would require filming (as opposed to voice work), or are they going to go with a lesser-known performer and bank on the popularity of the IP plus the supporting cast like Aladdin.
The Little Mermaid doesn’t have a release date, but it appears to be on the fast track, so I wouldn’t be surprised if this hits theaters sometime in 2021.