Disney has two versions of “The Little Mermaid” currently in the works, one a live-action adaptation for the big screen, and the other, a celebration of the 1989 animated film set to air on ABC in November.
For those confused about the two projects, here’s everything you need to know about both.
First up will be ABC’s “The Little Mermaid Live!” on Tuesday, Nov. 5.
The project is ABC’s take on the live TV musical genre that’s swept the broadcast networks in recent seasons. Though it won’t be a full production, the broadcast will merge the original Disney movie with live musical performances in what the network is describing as “a special tribute to the original animated classic and its timeless music.”
“Moana” star Auli’i Cravalho, in full costume, will provide the singing voice of Ariel, with Queen Latifah as Ursula and Shaggy as Sebastian. John Stamos and “The Good Wife” alum Graham Phillips have also joined the cast.
As director Hamish Hamilton explained to reporters back in August, audiences at home will see the original movie playing as usual, but when the cartoon Ariel gets ready to sing, Auli’i Cravalho will take over from the studio. There are expected to be 10 or 11 musical numbers in total, including all of Alan Menken and Howard Ashman’s songs from the original film and some from the Broadway musical.
Disney’s full live-action film adaptation, starring Halle Bailey as Ariel, remains a bit further off.
The studio has yet to set a release date for the film, as it still has to release “Maleficent: Mistress of Evil” this April, followed by “Lady and the Tramp” on Disney+, “Mulan” on March 27, 2020 and “Cruella” on May 28, 2021. Plus, Disney’s slate is filled with the various other Marvel and “Star Wars” films, and also Fox’s previously-dated films.
So far, Awkwafina and Jacob Tremblay have joined the cast as Scuttle and Flounder, respectively, and as of July, Javier Bardem was in talks to play King Triton in the remake. Similarly, in June, it was reported that Melissa McCarthy was in talks to play Ursula.
Harry Styles was in talks to play Prince Eric for a while, but he ultimately passed on the project — so the coveted role is still up for grabs, as is the role of Sebastian the crab and Ursula’s electric eels.
Rob Marshall (“Mary Poppins Returns,” “Into the Woods”) is directing, and Jane Goldman and David Magee are writing the script.