Alice in Wonderland. Snow White and the Huntsman. Jack the Giant Slayer. Maleficent. Live action versions of classic fairy tales have been all the rage since Tim Burton’s Alice took home over a billion dollars worldwide after its 2010 release, and it doesn’t appear that Hollywood is ready to give up on the trend yet. And from a business perspective, why would they? The source material is old enough to be in the public domain, and they have what execs often consider to be one of the most precious resources a property can have: name recognition. So guess what? Another live action take on a classic story that’s been kicking around for years just got new life with a new director.
Deadline reports that Sofia Coppola (Lost in Translation) will direct The Little Mermaid, a project that Joe Wright was originally attached to before he moved on to direct his Peter Pan origin story. Caroline Thompson (Edward Scissorhands) is writing the screenplay, picking up where Fifty Shades of Grey scribe Kelly Marcel and Shame writer Abi Morgan left off. The story, like the Disney classic, will follow a young mermaid who trades her voice for a pair of legs in order to try to win the heart of a handsome prince. How much do you want to bet that this version will be “darker” and “more faithful to the original Hans Christian Andersen story”?
Coppola is an interesting choice to direct, considering how she’s explored female characters on screen in The Virgin Suicides, Marie Antoinette, and The Bling Ring. Ariel isn’t exactly the strongest female lead I can think of – though she admirably sees something she wants and goes after it – but it’ll be interesting to see if Thompson and Coppola alter the perception of the character in their version of the story. I wonder what the chances are that Elle Fanning, who stars in Maleficent and appeared in Coppola’s film Somewhere, ends up cast in this project?
No word yet on a release date for The Little Mermaid, but it’ll be after Pan, Into the Woods, and Through the Looking Glass come out, so do you think audiences will be tired of the trend by then?
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