A live-action 'Little Mermaid': How dark should it be?

apocalypseImage Credit: Disney; Francis Danby/The Bridgeman Art Library/Getty ImagesHere’s a bit of news making waves today: Variety reports that director Joe Wright is at work on a live-action version of the Hans Christian Andersen tale The Little Mermaid. But before you start humming “Under the Sea,” consider this: Wright is the guy behind hard-hitting dramas like Atonement and The Soloist. On top of that, Andersen’s original telling of the story was less about singing crabs than it was about, say, soul-crushing existential dread. (Actual quote: “The little mermaid leaned her white arms on the edge of the vessel, and looked towards the east for the first blush of morning, for that first ray of dawn that would bring her death.”) Our suspicion? This new Mermaid might have one seriously angsty Ariel.

Personally, I’m excited to see Wright’s take on the material. I’ll never stop loving the Disney version, but that doesn’t mean there isn’t room for a new interpretation that keeps a little closer to the creepy, gothic tone of the original story. But what do you think, PopWatchers? Let us know in the poll below!


Comments (52 total) Add your comment
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  • Ambient Lite

    Sounds FANTASTIC!

  • Madd

    I remember reading the original story…it made me so, so sad. I’m fine with a darker version- as a kid I’m sure I thought the Disney version was “dark”-but could Ariel, uh, live at the end? Pretty please?
    Also, I’ve already cast it. Prince Eric is Jon Hamm and Ariel is Anna Tre-BUN-skaya.

    • Ceballos

      As a kid, I thought Ursula was absolutely terrifying. (Now, she merely makes me uncomfortable.)

    • Doug

      Could you imagine if they cast Eric with someone like Cory Monteith? I’m thinking more Jonathan Tucker (The Black Donnellys) or Sam Page (Mad Men, Desperate Housewives).

      • Hellen

        I’d love to see Cory Monteith play Prince Eric. And he can play dark too. He was totally believable as a real jerk character in Kyle XY.

    • AshleyBrooke

      Well, I didn’t read this book, so did you just give away the damn ending?

      • V

        Umm…wow. Really old story. Commonly told. Just because you’re only familiar with the Disney version doesn’t somehow mean you shouldn’t already have known (especially since the article SAYS SHE DIES).

  • rebecca

    This movie sounds interesting. Directors really should start making live action movies out of Disney Princesses and make the story not as kid like. I love the Disney Princess movies but it would be nice to see some of them more realistic, but still put into the time period they were meant to be in.
    Like The New World by Terrence Malick, it was nice to see a live action version of Pocahontas and Christian Bale was beautiful as John Rolfe, so that didn’t hurt either!!

    • Jen

      Like, for example, Ever After? And, in the sort-of-spoof format, Enchanted? I’m always in for more Disney Princess movies (as long as they’re actually good and they do not star current Disney teen stars), but they have been done before in live action.

    • Johnny

      Rebecca, I know that Disney took those properties and made them uber-popular in modern times, but they are not owned by the family entertainment giant. Technically, a the director isn’t going to make a new version of a “Disney Princess”, he is gong to reinterpret Hans Christian Andersen’s Little Mermaid, which is exactly what Disney did. Terrence Malick’s NEW WORLD was not a new version of Dosney’s Pocahontas. Just like Disney’s Pocahontas, New World was a re interpretation of history:Pocahontas’ story.

      • rebecca

        I know that Disney doesn’t own them, but many people know of the stories because of the disney movies. i just want them to take the disney princess movies and put them into people movies.

  • Shane

    Sounds good, I just hope it’s not Alice in Wonderland all over again.

  • javi

    i hope disney makes a remake of the ocean girl it was a short series but it was a cool show and if they are going to make it a dark version of the movie well make the siren evil.

  • maiv

    I saw the ballet and that was ridiculously dark. But good. Hopefully it’s in that direction.

  • Tisa

    Anyone playing Ariel other than Amy Adams is just wrong. It shouldn’t be too dark though, especially because the kids will want to see it too.

    • mscisluv

      Amy Adams doesn’t do dark particularly well…

      • Madd

        Yeah, I love her, but she really doesn’t.

    • V

      Also, I don’t know that Ariel actually has to be a redhead. I don’t believe the original story specifies…

      • Margot

        yeah, she wasn’t a redhead in the original tale
        most of the first illustrations of the story show her with either light chestnut or dark brown or black hair

  • Strepsi

    There was an animated version from the 70s that used to rerun on TV when i was a kid, very faithful… it had me sobbing every time. Not just a tear in my eye, but bawling my eyes out. When she walks, each step cuts her feet like knives! I don’t know if I could handle a whole movie.

    The same company did Oscar Wilde’s “The Happy Prince”, which is the other story that will leave you a blubbering mess.

  • Rion

    I think I’ll just stick with the 1989 Disney classic, thank you very much.

    • Kaydence

      Unebileabvle how well-written and informative this was.

      • Marty

        Superior thinking dmeontsarted above. Thanks!

  • Strepsi

    OMG i found a link: Reader’s Digest presents The Little Mermaid narrated by Richard Chamberlain from 1975. (now I feel old)

  • DK

    Exciting!! I always loved the HCA story, even though it was so tragic. It’s a beautiful story.

    Ariel should be Saorsie Ronan (sp?) or some other waify-but-strong up-and-comer. Though she may be a bit young, depending on how old they decide to portray the character.

    For Eric, I think Jon Hamm is too old, but you’re on the right track. Maybe Callum Blue or Tygh Runyan.

  • Lisa

    I love the Little Mermaid, and I 20 years after the original I would love an adult version. PLEASE JUST DON’T CAST KEIRA KNIGHTLEY! Joe Wright is famous for that.

    • DK

      Joe Wright is famous for what exactly? out of all of the series, movies, and TV movies he’s directed, only TWO of them feature Keira Knightley

  • Strepsi

    And The Happy Prince, voiced by Christopher Plummer

  • Ceballos

    Definitely the darker the better.

    I mean, I’m not talking about Ursula doing lines of coke off Flotsam and Jetsam’s backs, but if you’re going to do a live-action adaptation of the material, it’d be smart to move away from the Disney version.

    Finally, though I realize it’s COMPLETELY superficial due to the red hair…Deborah Ann Woll for Ariel!

    • Madd

      Ooh, Deborah Ann Woll! She’s fantastic on True Blood, I’m sure she can pull it off.

    • Ariana

      Ooohhh, Deborah Ann Woll, I love that idea!!

      I’m really excited about a darker Little Mermaid in general. I’ll always love the Disney princesses, but as an adult I’d love to see any of them reimagined and closer to HCA’s creepiness!

  • bkwrm

    Is this re-imagining for the Sci-Fi (I refuse to use their new spelling) channel a’la Tin Man and Alice or for the big screen? If it’s Sci-Fi, i’d definitly check it out; if it’s big screen, I’m not sure. Have to see a trailer first.

    • Brian

      Why would a Syfy adaptation be more tempting for you than something with a feature-length film budget? Syfy is renowned for craptastic special effects and bad acting.

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