Harry Styles has decided to turn down playing Prince Eric in Disney’s The Little Mermaid remake, likely breaking the hearts of thousands of his fans across the world. Styles’ name trended on Twitter for several hours on Tuesday when speculation surfaced that he’d accepted the role. But it turns out those rumors weren’t true, according to a report from Variety.
According to their article, the studio is already considering other actors to play alongside Halle Bailey as Ariel.
In other casting news, actress/comedian Melissa McCarthy will reportedly play Ursula, Ariel’s main antagonist in the film. Rob Marshall will be directing and Hamilton’s Lin-Manuel Miranda will be working on the soundtrack alongside composer Alan Menken.
On social media, Styles’ fans expressed lots of disappointment at the news that he will not be playing Prince Eric.
“Why am I even surprised harry isn’t going to be prince Eric,” lamented one fan on Twitter. “When will something actually go right in my life.”
But other fans found a positive side to the situation.
“The fact that Disney wanted Harry to play Prince Eric and he turned the offer and Prince Eric was #1 in trending makes us winning too, Harry and harries will never lose,” another one of his admirers tweeted.
As the Inquisitr previously reported, Bailey’s casting caused a furor on Twitter and other social media platforms because the singer/actress is African-American. Some claimed that the casting was an example of cultural appropriation because the original movie is based on a fairytale by Danish author Hans Christian Andersen. But, as the article notes, a lot of the outrage was pushed by fake bot accounts.
As Buzzfeed notes, others welcomed the fact that Bailey was given the role and several artists created pieces that imagine her as Ariel.
Bailey recently addressed the criticism in an interview with Variety.
“I just feel like this role was something bigger than me, and greater,” she said. “I feel like I’m dreaming and I’m just grateful and I don’t pay attention to the negativity. It’s going to be beautiful and I’m just so excited to be a part of it.”
View this post on Instagram
One story, two versions. Congratulations, Halle! #hallebailey #chloexhalle #jodibenson #ariel #thelittlemermaid #disney #disneyprincess #disneyprincesses #mermaid #mermaids #princess #princesses #disneyliveaction #waltdisney #definitelymyariel #hallebaileyariel #blackariel #blackgirlmagic #BlackExcellence #HalleismyAriel #MyAriel
As Variety notes, The Little Mermaid has an important place in Disney’s history as the 1989 film is credited with launching the studio’s “Renaissance” a period of heightened popularity for their animated movies. So there will likely be a lot of expectations surrounding the remake given the original’s legacy and the controversy around the casting.
Since Prince Eric is the love interest in the film, a lot will be riding on the chemistry between the actor Disney chooses and Bailey. According to Variety, the name of that actor will be revealed soon.