Director Sofia Coppola (The Virgin Suicides, Lost in Translation) is set to tackle her first major studio property for Universal Pictures, The Little Mermaid. According to Deadline (via Collider), she will be adapting the classic Hans Christian Anderson fable for the big screen for the first time in live-action. It is unclear what approach Coppola, daughter of famed director Francis Ford Coppola (The Godfather), will be taking for the project.
The original fable told the story of a mermaid who gives up her life underwater, and body, to win the affections of a human prince. There are themes of unrequited love, jealousy and ultimately death. Clearly many of these themes were ignored or glossed over by Disney’s 1989 animated adaptation of the story, which has consistently stayed in popular culture and children’s DVD shelves since it’s release.
The news of a live-action adaptation isn’t very surprising. There is certainly a push to modernize many classic tales (and stories that Disney has previously adapted) recently. Last year we were served Snow White and the Huntsman, Maleficient this summer and yet another rendition of Peter Pan story, Pan, is coming to theaters next summer. Unless audiences tastes begin to change, we could be in for a lot more as well.
Coppola is an Academy Award winner and a very respected director. However she has to this point, only focused on independent style film with strong characters, dialogue and plot… and little to no spectacle. She is no stranger to the studio system due to her familial relations, but it will still be worth watching how she navigates the landmines of making a blockbuster to keep her vision. Also, how closely she will keep to the original tale will be of interest as well. Since there are a legion of children, and grown-up children, eagerly waiting to see a live action version of the beloved animated movie that they grew up with.
So who can you see cast as Ariel and Ursula? What about King Triton? (“Liam Neeson on line one!”)
SOURCES: Deadline, Collider and Annie Leibovitz via Disney