It was reported back in May that Disney was considering a live action adaptation of their 1989 animated classic, The Little Mermaid. Deadline has confirmed that not only is Disney moving forward with the movie, but they’ve brought in Lin-Manuel Miranda to write additional songs along with Alan Menken for the adaptation. Continue reading below for more details.
Here’s the official report from Deadline:
“Disney is pairing Hamilton‘s Lin-Manuel Miranda with iconic songwriter Alan Menken for a live action feature adaptation of Hans Christian Anderson’s The Little Mermaid. Miranda and Menken will write the songs together. Marc Platt will produce the film along with Miranda, in a configuration just set by Sean Bailey, president of Walt Disney Studios Motion Picture Production.
This one is being orchestrated as a mix of pre-existing songs from the 1989 Disney animated classic movie, for which Menken won two Oscars, sharing Best Song with Howard Ashman, and winning Best Score on his own. Menken has eight Oscars in his storied career.”
Lin-Manuel Miranda has been Disney’s go-to man as of late, already being attached to star in Mary Poppins and having written music for Moana. He’s coming off of his record-breaking Broadway show Hamilton, which won 11 Tony’s including best musical and best score as well as a nomination for Lin-Manuel’s performance, but beyond that he also appears to have a soft spot for The Little Mermaid itself. Miranda named his newborn son Sebastian after the crab in the film. While I have not seen Hamilton or In The Heights to be able to provide my opinion on whether Miranda is the right man for the job, the overwhelming praise for Hamilton’s book and score clearly demonstrate that he is talented. Beyond that, bringing back Menken who worked on the original movie should ensure that there’s a cohesive flow between the new and old songs for the adaptation.
Two more items to point out- Firstly, this adaptation should not be confused with the other Little Mermaid adaptation in the works. That film from Universal and Working Title, stars Chloe Grace Moretz in the lead and will be directed by Rebecca Thomas from a screenplay by Richard Curtis (About Time). While the Disney movie will be a musical and likely very similar to the animated movie, the Universal feature will more than likely stick closer to the original Hans Christian Anderson tale.
Secondly, this movie now officially joins the ranks of live action adaptations following the success of Alice in Wonderland, Maleficent, Cinderella and Jungle Book (although Alice Through the Looking Glass wasn’t the hit they hoped for). The other projects in various stages of development include Beauty and the Beast (first trailer here), Cruella, Dumbo, The Nutcracker and the Four Realms, A Tinker Bell Movie, Mulan, Pinocchio, Sword in the Stone, Winnie the Pooh, Night on Bald Mountain, Prince Charming, Genie (which could potentially set up a new Aladdin) and a movie about Snow White’s sister. There’s also sequels already announced for Maleficent and Jungle Book. The Mouse House has quite the film slate planned out for the upcoming decade or so since they also have properties like Star Wars, Marvel, Pixar, Disney Animation, Pirates of the Caribbean, etc. under their banner.
What do you think about Disney’s choice to make a live action adaptation of The Little Mermaid? Can Lin-Manuel Miranda fill the shoes of the late Howard Ashman to create new songs for the movie alongside the accomplished Alan Menken? Share your thoughts in the discussion board below. There is no target release date for the Little Mermaid yet, but I will keep you posted on any new information that’s released for this project.