It was only a matter of time before a major studio, paging through Disney’s back catalog, realized that there was some fairy tale yet to have the life sucked out of it by a generic live-action adaptation. Ariel, I’m sorry. It’s your turn. But if this is a movie I have no intention of seeing (currently—things could change), at least it’s a movie I have no intention of seeing that might be helmed by a female director. Scratch at that celluloid ceiling, The Little Mermaid. The Black Caulrdon, when its time comes, might not even have that going for it.
Disney’s not actually involved in this particular film; it’s Universal Pictures that you can direct your curses, congratulations, and hopeful glances at. According to Deadline Sofia Coppola is negotiating to direct, taking over from Joe Wright, who apparently used to be interested. At some point Wright skipped over to Warner Bros. for a Peter Pan origin story instead—the one that (probably) whitewashed Tiger Lily, FYI. You’ll forgive me if I’m feeling slightly more cynical than usual this week about studios hooking their money-grubbing talons into children’s classics.
If Coppola signs on, the Lost in Translation director will be working off a script that’s gone through several writers: Kelly Marcel, who penned the (also female-directed) 50 Shades of Grey movie, the great Abi Morgan, and most recently Caroline Thompson, who’s on rewrite duty. Who’s Caroline Thompson? You might not know any of her work. Just stuff like Edward Scissorhands. The Nightmare Before Christmas. The Addams Family. Homeward Bound: The Incredible Journey. Black Beauty and The Secret Garden. You know. Obscure things. Also Corpse Bride, but shhh, we can ignore that one.
That is a lot of ladies involved in this movie about a girl (well, mermaid girl) working through the travails of teenagerhood and struggling with self-identity. I refuse to be hopeful about this movie, even if they did get the writer responsible for many of Tim Burton‘s pre-suckitude films. If I reveal my soft underbelly, I could get stabbed.
I also refuse to speculate as to which actors should be cast as merpeople, because that way lies madness. One exception: Samuel L. Jackson as King Triton. I might see it then. And a quick PS to Universal: Cast a thin actress as Ursula and I will end you. Yeah, yeah, I know there are (major, like suicide and stepping on swords) differences between the Disney and original versions of The Little Mermaid, and the Sea Witch isn’t necessarily the same as Disney’s Ursula.
I don’t care.