Rebecca Thomas is in early talks to direct a live-action adaptation of “The Little Mermaid” starring Chloe Grace Moretz for Universal and Working Title, multiple individuals familiar with the project have told TheWrap.
Thomas met with Moretz this week and the two hit it off. She remains attached to direct Paramount’s adaptation of John Green‘s “Looking for Alaska,” which is further along than “The Little Mermaid,” though neither film has received a greenlight yet. Richard Curtis is still writing the script for “Little Mermaid,” while Paramount has yet to cast anyone in “Alaska.”
Meanwhile, TheWrap has learned that Elle Fanning is Paramount’s top choice to star in “Looking for Alaska,” and coincidentally, she turned down “The Little Mermaid” earlier this year.
Sofia Coppola was previously attached to direct “The Little Mermaid,” though she left in June due to creative differences. In another Hollywood coincidence, Thomas beat out Coppola’s niece, Gia Coppola, for the coveted “Looking for Alaska” job.
“We didn’t agree creatively about how to do it, so I didn’t want to continue,” Sofia Coppola told TheWrap about her “Little Mermaid” exit. “As we were getting closer, it just wasn’t the right fit for what they needed for that project and the way I work. I decided to do something in a smaller scale, the way I like to work.”
Based on the beloved fairy tale from Hans Christian Andersen, “The Little Mermaid” follows a mermaid who saves a man from drowning and falls in love with him.
Working Title’s Tim Bevan and Eric Fellner will produce, while Liza Chasin and Amelia Granger will executive produce. Universal executives Erik Baiers and Chloe Yellin will oversee the project for the studio.
Thomas is an up-and-coming filmmaker who has been in demand since directing the 2012 indie “Electrick Children” starring Julia Garner and Rory Culkin. She’s represented by CAA, Principato-Young Entertainment and Hansen, Jacobson.