Jacob Tremblay and Awkwafina have entered talks to play roles in Disney’s live-action The Little Mermaid. The film is a retelling of the classic fairy tale by Hans Christian Andersen, but is specifically based on the studio’s Oscar-winning animated musical adaptation from 1989.
Disney’s animated Little Mermaid told the story of Ariel, a mermaid princess who falls in love with a human prince named Eric, and makes a deal with the sea witch Ursula to become a human herself. The live-action remake will reunite Mary Poppins Returns director Rob Marshall and writer David Magee, with Lin-Manuel Miranda (who costarred in the Mary Poppins sequel) writing new songs with Alan Menken. It’s one of numerous Disney animated features-turned live-action films that the studio has in the pipeline right now, following the commercial success of their previous live-action retellings (like Cinderella and, most recently, Aladdin).
According to THR, Tremblay is in talks to voice Ariel’s fish buddy Flounder in the live-action Little Mermaid. Meanwhile, Awkwafina has entered negotiations to voice Scuttle, the well-meaning seagull who teaches Ariel some (completely wrong) lessons about human culture and society. The characters were voiced by Jason Marin and Buddy Hackett in the 1989 animated film.
Tremblay, who turns 13 this fall, made a name for himself with his performance in the Oscar-winning drama Room in 2015, and has since appeared in films like Wonder and The Predator. Meanwhile, Awkwafina has come a ways from her early days on YouTube and has since appeared in films like Ocean’s Eight and Crazy Rich Asians. Both actors have movies coming out this summer (The Farewell and Good Boys) that earned an enthusiastic reception on the festival circuit earlier this year, and will return this fall in the sequels Doctor Sleep (aka. the followup to The Shining) and Jumanji: The Next Level.
Between Tremblay, Awkwafina, and Melissa McCarthy (who’s in talks to play Ursula), the live-action Little Mermaid has already begun to assemble quite the talented cast. The film will presumably start to fill its biggest roles next, like Eric, Ariel’s father King Trident, and (of course) “The Little Mermaid” herself. Spider-Man star and Disney Channel veteran Zendaya has been rumored to play Ariel in the past, and recently sported red hair – as an homage to Mary Jane – during the press tour for this week’s Spider-Man: Far From Home. Who knows: if those rumors pan out, she may yet hold onto the red hairstyle and take a trip Under the Sea next.
More on The Little Mermaid as it becomes available.