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Not a Misprint

The Screenwriter Adapting 50 Shades of Grey Might Be Writing a Little Mermaid Movie, Too


Before you rear back from your computer screen in confusion that the person writing the 50 Shades of Grey movie could be doing a fairy tale flick as well, imagine, if you will, a reality in which Fifty Shades trilogy author E.L. James was tapped to write director Joe Wright‘s live-action version of The Little Mermaid instead.

There. Kelly Marcel getting the job doesn’t seem nearly so weird now, does it?

Wright, director of Pride & Prejudice, Atonement, Hanna, and Anna Karenina, has been trying to get his version of The Little Mermaid going for a few years now. Unlike Kenneth Branagh‘s live-action Cinderella, Wright’s version isn’t associated with Disney in any way and will instead be based on a stage production in turn based on Hans Christian Anderson‘s original story, which is decidedly more gruesome than the Disney version. As in part of the Little Mermaid getting legs is that she feels like she’s walking on knives all the time. Oh, and the fact that she kills herself at the end.

Wright is pulling from the work of the Little Angel Theater, a family-friendly puppet company founded by his father, so we’re probably not looking at anything too traumatic for the young’uns to behold. But a review I found of the stage version does say that it keeps “true to the original by not sugar-coating it into a happy ‘Disney’ ending.” So that’s pretty cool.

As for Marcel, who also wrote Disney’s upcoming Saving Mr. Banks, she’s reportedly “making a deal” to adapt The Little Mermaid. Interestingly, Abi Morgan, who wrote Michael Fassbender‘s Shame, also worked on developing the project during its earlier stages. Dang. This movie’s really bringing all the writers-of-controversial-movies-about-sex to the yard, isn’t it? Can Bernardo Bertolucci (Last Tango in Paris) get a “thank you” credit or something?

(via: /Film)

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  • Anonymous

    I don’t want to be obtuse, but I—when I was 10 years old—read the “original” story before I saw the Disney movie, and I think this is one story that shouldn’t be so gotdang brutal. Remember girls, don’t be curious: you’ll turn into foam.

  • Anonymous

    Just wait til the Little Mermaid spinoff: 50 Shades of Crayfish.

  • Hollyanna

    Well, the Disney version was hey girls, be prepared to give up your home, family, voice, and greatest talet for your man. Fairy tales for the modern lady.

  • Anonymous

    Well, Anderson also wrote what many feel was a last minute tag-on happy ending where she finds that she’s “alive” after turning into foam, and she’s become a “Daughter of the Air”, an air spirit with others. She can enter heaven for 300 years of good deeds, with one year reduced for every good deed that a child does, but will have a year added for every bad deed a child does.

  • Anonymous

    Yeah, but Disney also demonstrated that going through corrupt channels to do it also forced her to make that decision (Not that her father’s refusal helped either. Really, there’s a good essay to write about the film being relatable to the issue of consequences of criminalizing health services). It’s only when Ariel achieves legitimate transformation into a human that she is able to retain her voice and talent while being with the man she loves.

    When she was forced by Triton’s prejudices to seek “back alley” (on the nose?) methods to become human, Ursula speciously promoted her thought that she would never be with her father or sisters again, that she would have to pay for the transformation, that the price would be her voice, and that it was okay that women don’t speak.

    The trident (symbolic of the acceptance of Ariel’s desires and dissolution of Triton’s intolerance) allows her to transform without costing her anything, allowing her to keep her voice, and (revealed in later movies) that she was able to transform back with its power. The idea thats eh could never be with her family again was also generally incorrect, since they were also able come to the surface to celebrate the wedding (and apparently, based on the other movies, frequently going to the sea to celebrate large events in her life).

    It was Ursula’s underhanded agenda and methodology that made the deal as dangerous, costly, and sexist as possible. (You could potentially discuss the dynamic there between the casting of the male power as just and legitimate, while the female power is corrupt and evil re: the history of patriarchal medicine and the denigration of traditional “witch woman” medicine/nursing/dosa, but that’s a whole other discussion.)

    And likewise, it’s demonstrated that Ariel’s willingness to sacrifice everything, especially her voice, was naive and incorrect, as Eric was looking for her based on her voice and was seeking a partner who COULD speak. The fact that she lacks a voice was also depicted as being the one thing that kept him from initially fully loving her, despite clearly enjoying her personality and company. Without it, he couldn’t know who she really was. Grimsby has to actually tell him to stop pining for the mystery woman. But when Ariel does get her voice back, it’s how he’s able to see her for who she truly is, and appreciate her completely.

    If the film’s message was really about being willing to sacrifice everything for the love of a man, Eric would have accepted her right off the bat without care that she couldn’t speak, nor would he be thrilled that she could later, Ariel wouldn’t have needed to reconcile with her father, or celebrate her triumph with the merfolk present. While Ursula peddled the sexist illusion to her, reality was much, much different, and Ariel (and the audience) learn that in the end.

  • Anonymous

    I had this (much more faithful to the original) version of The Little Mermaid on VHS as a kid. It was terrifying. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KzvIMDSZLR0

  • BatiHoney

    Thank you so much for saying all this. THANK YOU.

  • Anonymous

    Somebody buy this article.

  • Stewart Zoot Wymer

    I just linked the title of this article to a friend and he managed to find a NSFW parody version of Ariel’s song which was amazingly appropriate. Hesitant to actually link or mention here, but I guess the crossover is not completely out there :P

  • Anonymous

    That look on Sebastion’s is priceless.

  • Anonymous

    Excellent post, Ruminum! Better luck next time, Hollyanna.