The live-action version of the the Little Mermaid from Universal is set to come out in 2017, and it might have a new director after Sophia Coppola dropped out back in June.
TheWrap has reported that Rebecca Thomas is in early talks to direct the movie based on the classic fairy tale. Rebecca Thomas is best known for directing the indie movie Electrick Children, which came out back in 2015 and starred Julia Garner and Rory Culkin. Most people may not be familiar with the film, but it was about a Mormon girl who believes she got pregnant listening to music and heads to Las Vegas to find the father. The movie mostly fell under the radar and did not make much money at the box office, but it did get positive reviews from critics earning an 86 percent on Rotten Tomatoes. So far this is Rebecca Thomas’ only movie, although her resume looks to be good enough for Universal, as they think she is ready to helm their live-action Little Mermaid.
Thomas already has a movie lined up to direct called Looking For Alaska, which is set to come out next year and is based on a novel by author John Green. If Thomas gets the directing job for the live-action Little Mermaid, it is not known yet if she will still direct Looking For Alaska, which has been held up due to a lack of casting decisions.
Universal’s Little Mermaid was originally supposed to have Sophia Coppola as the director though she left back in June due to creative differences with the studio. Reports came out last week that Coppola walked away from Little Mermaid because she wanted Maya Thurman-Hawke, the daughter of Ethan Hawke and Uma Thurman, to play Ariel instead of Chloe Grace Moretz. Maya Thurman-Hawke, at 17-years-old, is only a little more than a year younger than the 18-year-old Moretz, although she doesn’t have the name value or the experience that Moretz has. It was also reported that Coppola wanted the live-action Little Mermaid to have a darker and more adult-themed tone, but that has not been confirmed by Coppola or Universal.
Some fans of the classic Disney Little Mermaid animated movie, which came out in 1989, were enraged when they found out that Universal was having Moretz keep her blonde hair instead of the well known red hair. It is possible that Universal may not be going with the red hair for fear of getting sued by Disney. The original Little Mermaid story by Danish author Hans Christian Andersen may be in the public domain, but Disney created the trademark images for the 1989 animated movie and could go after any similar depictions. It is similar to how Universal has legally gone after other studios in the past for using bolts in the neck and green skin for the Frankenstein’s Monster character.
It is not at all surprising to see Universal working hard to get this live-action Little Mermaid film made. The film technically doesn’t have a greenlight yet, but with the news of Rebecca Thomas possibly directing and Richard Curtis, writer and director of Love Actually, set to pen the script, it seems only a matter of time before Universal makes an official announcement. Last year, Disney scored big, with the wildly successful Cinderella getting getting praises from film critics and making a very impressive $542 million at the box office. Disney already has plans in motion to have a live-action Beauty and the Beast movie to come out on March 17, 2017, so it’s possible that Universal is really trying to get things going with their live-action Little Mermaid film so that they can catch up and offer Disney some competition.
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