Melissa McCarthy is in talks to play the villain Ursula in Disney’s live-action remake of “The Little Mermaid,” an individual with knowledge of the project told TheWrap.
Rob Marshall will direct the live-action film based on the 1989 animated musical, which grossed $84.5 million in its initial theatrical run. Original song and score writer Alan Menken will team up with Lin-Manuel Miranda on the new version.
The film will incorporate the original hits from the 1989 original as well as new songs from Menken and Miranda. Miranda, who also worked with Disney on 2016’s “Moana” and starred in “Mary Poppins Returns,” will produce “The Little Mermaid” along with Marshall, Marc Platt and John DeLuca. David Magee (“Mary Poppins Returns”) wrote the script.
The project has been in development for a while and the potential cast for the film has generated a lot of buzz. Disney hopes to put together a contemporary and compelling cast, but wants to still pay homage to the beloved animated original.
The original “The Little Mermaid” follows princess Ariel, a teenage mermaid who dreams of living on the surface world and marrying Prince Eric. Ursula, originally voiced by Pat Carroll, is the sea witch who grants Ariel’s wish, but demands the princess’s beautiful voice as payment.
McCarthy last received plaudits for her lead role as Lee Israel in last year’s “Can You Ever Forgive Me?” The film earned three Oscar nominations, including a best actress nod for McCarthy.
The comedic actress will next star alongside Tiffany Haddish and Elisabeth Moss in Warner Bros.’s “The Kitchen,” in which the three women play wives of New York gangsters, who continue to operate their husbands’ rackets after their men get locked up in prison.
McCarthy is represented by CAA and MGMT Entertainment.
McCarthy’s casting was first reported by Variety.