Joe Wright talks about his live-action 'Little Mermaid'

Little-Mermaid-Joe-WrightImage Credit: Disney; Jon Furniss/WireImage.comIt’s official: director Joe Wright (Atonement) is planning a live-action version of The Little Mermaid. The project is still in early development, but don’t expect a Disney-style heroine with a seashell bra and singing fish friends. “F— that,” says Wright, who’s in New York promoting his upcoming thriller Hanna (out April 14). “It’s gonna be the story as Hans Christian Andersen wrote it.”

Of course, that version includes a dark ending in which the mermaid sacrifices herself. Will his film have that part, too? “Yeah, of course,” Wright says, although he’s quick to add that the movie won’t go too far over to the dark side. “Hopefully, it will be a film for all the family. It’s going to have a rating so all the kids can come to it as well.”

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  • tracy bluth

    Because I’m still 5 years old, I might just stick to the Disney version with singing and a happy ending. When I read the original story I was all “NO! That is NOT how this ends!” -again, because I’m 5 years old.

    • Justin K

      Why are you, a 5 year old, commenting on EW posts?

      • Michelle

        SERIOUSLY??? Tracy is not really 5…she meant that she feels like a kid still and prefers the light, musical happy version from Disney.

      • Graysin

        Justin K…was that a serious question?…

    • isaac

      how can a five year old write on a keey board

      • DUMB

        What’s a “keey board”?

  • Paco

    He’s all “its gonna be the story as Hans Christian Andersen wrote it” and then hes all “im not gonna go too dark”? Stick to one or the other.

    • 4k4k

      yeah he really just contradicted himself

    • SaraJ

      Yeah, and she dies in the end but it’s still a “family film”. Okay, shut up.

  • iggy

    He’s really perfect for this project. There’s a fragile sort of elegance in his films that will be a great fit to the vulnerablilty of the Little Mermaid.

  • Brynn

    I guess congratz go out to Saoirse Ronan for another plum role…

  • Stacie

    I think I would prefer the BBC to do a special or something. A movie doesn’t seem like the right way to tell the HCA story.

  • lalala

    He wants all kids to see this with their families? I don’t know… If the director is true to the original material, the movie would involve cutting off tongues and basically having the mermaid screwed over at the end because the prince couldn’t remember a face. Then again, Hans Christian Andersen’s stories were meant for children back then, weren’t they?…

    • Nerwen Aldarion

      LOL my mom bought the Hans Christian Andersen book version for us when we were about 6 years old, she didn’t know how it ended. PS when she finished the story she had two sobbing little girls. She never read the book to us again.

  • Donna

    Well I actually didn’t know the original story, and now that it’s been spoiled, I’m not sure I want to see it. And I know my young daughter won’t want to see Ariel bite the dust.

  • Voodoo

    That’s one annoying little man. Does he NEED to curse to get his point across? What a tool.

  • Lala

    If he’s gonna stay true to the original story, is he also gonna keep the Christian aspect of it. You know, the part about how nothing in this material world matters and that only God’s love is our salvation? No, I didn’t think so. I’ll stick with the Disney version.

  • A.F. for EW

    Do we really need a live-action version of The Little Mermaid? In a word, NO!

    Talk about going to the well once too often.

  • Zach

    Yeah, I’m with the majority here. It’ll probably be good, but it’s not like we haven’t seen a classic version of this story, adult-friendly or not. Joe, go make another Atonement, but you’re never going to replace Disney’s consummate version of The Little Mermaid.

  • Doris

    I’m sorry, but I don’t like the Disney version, and I’m waiting to see the original done right. The mermaid makes a lot of sacrifices for love, and the ending is truly beautiful. Read it and see. It always makes me cry.

    • Zach

      Oh, whatever.

    • Diane

      Yup-just what you want to take your kid to, a movie about a mermaid who makes multiple sacrifices for a man who barely knows she’s alive, and then commits suicide when given the choice between killing herself and killing him.

      • Irish

        That’s my thought. I remember reading the originals of a lot of “children’s stories” when I was younger. Brother’s Grimm and Hans Christian Anderson stories are dark, morbid, and generally don’t end well. I think there’s a reason they get “retouched” for kids. There’s no way this can end up as a family film.

      • Destinie

        Well actually she wants to marry the prince because she loves him AND its the only way for her to get to heaven. She is also to good a person to kill someone she loves, even if he doesn’t love her in return. She took the chance in the first place and was not going to kill someone because of HER mistake…

    • DM

      It really is a beautiful, visceral story. I just wish people spent less effort either trying to stay faithful to it without examination or get a happy ending out of it, rather than take apart all the underlying themes. There was so much potential subtext in that tale it’s kind of amazing.

  • Alita Lil Wing

    I’m kind of indecisive now: Original story or family film? Hmmmmm. If anything, he might have a mob of 2 to 10 year old girls (and their moms) outside his door screaming and crying, “What did you do to Pwintheth Awiel?!?”

    • Maureen


  • Zach

    To be clear, I hardly think the semi-informed moviegoer who chooses to see this film will bring his or her kids along. Just like Terence Malick’s The New World, this film would have a proper audience of its own. The problem with the film is that it’s another example of Hollywood having trouble finding new material. And yes, even for the older audiences it’s going to be tough to top the Disney version no matter how much darker or more faithful this version is — who cares about that?

  • AKS

    I like Joe Wright, but the original fairy tale depresses me! Then again, so did Antonement, still a good movie

    • Dave

      Atonement was so heartbreakingly tragic. The ending destroyed me.

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