Who should be cast as Ariel in the possible ‘Little Mermaid’ live-action remake?

ariel little mermaid

“Live action remakes of beloved cartoons” are the new “reimagined classics from the villain’s perspective.” And Disney has been riding that wave to massive box office success for a while now. Disney’s live-action remake of The Jungle Book made crazy money and far exceeded expectations. Maleficent – both a live-action remake and a reimagined villain story – was Angelina Jolie’s biggest hit ever, and it ended up having a really nice “sisterhood” message too. Disney is also set to do a Maleficent sequel, a live-action Dumbo, a live-action Cruella de Vil movie (starring Emma Stone), and of course this week the first trailer dropped for the live-action remake of Beauty and the Beast (which you can see here, in all its meh glory). But would Disney touch the untouchable? Would they actually go for it and try to do a live-action remake of The Little Mermaid?

The Little Mermaid holds special significance for Disney, which produced an animated version of the story in 1989. That pic, which followed the adventures of Ariel the singing mermaid, gave viewers classic songs such as “Under The Sea” and helped usher in a new golden age of animation at Disney. That streak would include Beauty And The Beast and Aladdin.

The teaser for Disney’s live-action version of Beauty And The Beast, starring Emma Watson, was viewed almost 92 million times in its first 24 hours alone this week, beating the previous record holder for most viewed teaser Star Wars: The Force Awakens, as well as the latest installments of Marvel titles Captain America: Civil War and Avengers: Age Of Ultron — all of which are Disney movies. That, along with the sensational performance of The Jungle Book, with a worldwide gross to date of $860 million — has buoyed Disney execs to look through their back catalog for more live-action adaptations.

Should Disney execs decide to move forward, they’ll find strong competition from an existing live-action project being led by Brit production powerhouse Working Title. That Little Mermaid project, set up at Universal, has Chloe Grace Moretz attached to star and up-and-coming filmmaker Rebecca Thomas set to direct from a script by Richard Curtis.

[From Deadline]

My first thought was “there already is a live action Little Mermaid and it’s called Splash!!!” But they probably don’t care about that. To me, the idea of trying to figure out how to do live-action underwater mermaid scenes seems like a hellish nightmare, but Disney’s imagineers are probably figuring it out as we speak.

Which brings me to the most important question: who would play Ariel? Would Ariel have to be played by someone relatively young, or could they go with a more established (ginger) actress, like Jessica Chastain, or Rachel McAdams? Or Amy Adams (who can already sing!). Or Isla Fisher (meh). Scarlett Johansson could dye her hair red, like she does for Black Widow. Emma Stone? Emma’s already doing Cruella, but I think Emma would be great at Ariel. How about Christina Hendricks, busting out some giant boob shells? And I have a really off-the-wall suggestion: Florence Welch! She’s ginger and she has a great voice.

Update: As Deadline notes, Universal is working on a separate live-action Little Mermaid with Chloe Moretz. That project doesn’t have anything to do with this potential Disney project, which is still being discussed.




Photos courtesy of WENN.

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91 Responses to “Who should be cast as Ariel in the possible ‘Little Mermaid’ live-action remake?”

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  1. Kate says:

    No one because they really shouldn’t be ruining my childhood like this.

  2. Astrid says:

    There must be some young beautiful talented singer/actor, coming out of nowhere, that can be Ariel?

  3. Locke Lamora says:

    Jane Levy from Suburgatory has the right look. If were going with more eatablished actresses, Emma Stone is great, but no one comes as close to Disney perfection the way Amy Adams does

  4. Neelyo says:

    For all the money Disney has, they really don’t have any new ideas, do they?

    • ichsi says:

      Nope, they don’t. It’s rehash time everywhere rn. It’s quite sad and I hope none of the actresses mentioned here will associate with this.

      • SJO says:

        Thank you,
        I was reading a thread yesterday with a string of gushing comments about the Beauty and the Beast remake and how amazing Cinderella was (in all its uber-white sexist glory) and I almost passed out from the massive involuntary eye roll. Maleficent was so cool. I am so disappointed in the literal, word for word, live action tripe that Disney is now spewing in the name of straight up cash grabbing. I grew up Disney too.
        In the 70s when that was pretty much all there was.
        I already have a love/hate relationship with them.
        This is such a disappointing, but expected turn of events I guess.

  5. Samtha says:

    Ariel should be played by a teenager. It doesn’t make sense to cast a woman in her thirties…

    Wasn’t Sofia Coppola doing a live-action version of the Little Mermaid? Or was she doing a Hans Christian Andersen adaptation?

  6. Danielle says:

    I think you need to look younger for ariel. Sounds like Chloe moretzto attached?

  7. Lucy2 says:

    Why is Emma playing Cruella Deville? She is far too young for that role. And isn’t Ariel sort of a teenager/early 20s? So no on Jessica Chastain or Amy Adams- both are very talented, but not right for this part.

    • Kate says:

      Ariel is supposed to be 16. They actually come right out and say it in the Disney movie. So none of these women will work. But like I said previously, they should stop now before they ruin my childhood favorite movie

      • NeNe'sWig says:

        Yup, Ariel herself says “I’m 16 years old, I’m not a child!”

        And I totally agree, this was my all-time favorite movie when I was a kid (followed closely by Mary Poppins and The Wizard of Oz) – I even had a Little Mermaid sleeping bag :)

        Like, can they just f–king NOT??

  8. Zandy says:

    I loved Amy Adams in Enchanted. Great performance and great vocals. So my pick is Amy.

  9. lilacflowers says:

    My niece. She’s a ginger with long, wavy locks; she’s a trained singer; and she knows every word of dialogue and has been singing every song from the cartoon since she was tiny.

  10. roxane says:

    Amy Adams would be perfect, but I love your choice Kaiser, Florence Welch is an amazing singer and there’s a video on youtube where she sing the song of Little Mermaid.

  11. Abbott says:

    Who says Ariel has to be a white red head? My vote is for Gugu Mbatha-Raw. So so SO talented, she proved she can sing (‘Beyond the Lights’), and THAT FACE.

  12. Oh no, not again. They ruined Cinderella for me, with wooden acting, digitally altered waist and no personality.
    Dear Disney, get some new ideas.

  13. lower-case deb says:

    i’ve always wanted a sequel, starring Catherine Tate and David Tenant. after only a few years as monarchs, the royal family is abolished and they’re forced to live as commoners albeit an upper middle class one. Ariel can’t go back to the sea because she’s no longer a mermaid having traded fins for legs and gills for lungs.

    they have a hard time adjusting to non royal life, where Eric takes up a job as a competitive sailor a la Sir Ben Ainslie, if only to avoid fighting/bickering with his wife.

    Ariel finds an unlikely career as detergent and cleaning fluids specialist especially for top loading washing machine, drawing on her experience with the merpeople’s effort to keep the North Pacific Gyre clean.

    finally they become environmental activists, where Leo Di Caprio cameos as their unlikely mentor a la Al Gore, for which Leo will win his second Oscar, this time for best supporting actor.

    • NewWester says:

      You need to get a script written and get some funding. I like your idea!

    • Abbott says:

      I’d totally contribute to your Kickstarter. But can we make Leo the villain? Like, he gets caught eating Bald Eagle tacos or something?

      • lower-case deb says:

        heeey that’s a good idea! and maybe we can also get Leo’s Bear to cameo again too, and chase him across the screen again, very revenge-fantasy Inconvenient Truth!

        @Newwester, speaking of scriptwriting, i’ve always loved Liberty’s witty dialogs :) also CB’s and Kaiser’s posts of course. i see that nowadays blogs and sites are having Original Productions, either books or webseries or podcasts…

        i’d definitely contribute to a Kickstarter for a Cele|Bitchy Original :)

  14. anon says:

    They need to get an unknown young actress for this part. It’s very distracting to see the same faces over and over again and then play iconic roles. Like Emma Watson. She will always be hermione and someone new should get the chance to play Belle. Besides Emma is not beautiful enough, sorry but she is the classic average girl and there is nothing wrong with that.
    I want to see a live action pocahontas movie. I think it would be great.

  15. nicole says:

    I don’t see how it could work. She is underwater for half of the movie.

  16. Annyong says:

    All of the names you mentioned are great but a little on the older side. Whenever i think about Ariel i instantly picture Holland Roden. I don’t know if you are familiar with her.
    Other options are Maria Thayer, Rachel Hurd-Wood and Emily Browning.
    I don’t know if any of them can sing though.

  17. Lucretia says:

    No one. Please. There are so many better stories.

    And there’s an opportunity to move beyond the stereotypes, misogyny and racism of a movie like this, but the almighty $$$ is going to spawn another version of the same old story — Where there are no people of color (other than the fish representing for racist tropes: the “Jamaican-sounding” crab who sings about people “slaving away” up in the sun and it’s better under the sea where you don’t need to work?). Where the female characters are all silly or evil. I mean come on — the main character gives away her VOICE (not so subtle) for a chance for the boy to notice her.

    We can do better for our daughters and sons.

    • Grant says:

      Maybe they can revamp it and give it a modern twist, the way they did with the Broadway adaptation.

    • Freuy says:

      Or go with the original story, which is much more violent but also has a great moral. At least the way I’ve always interpreted it – that you can change yourself and sacrifice everything to gain someone’s love, but ultimately, to no avail. A person has to love you for you, simple as that.
      And then even in the end, with all the pain, she still didn’t take revenge and kill him. It’s a heartbreaking story, but I like it.

  18. Tig says:

    I vote for Holliday Granger- tho don’t know if she can sing. I so love the songs from this movie! And forget Ariel- who’s to play Ursula? As an actress, that would be a fantastic role!

    There is a fantastic documentary- either Saving Sleeping Beauty/Waking Sleeping Beauty- about the Disney creative teams behind that fantastic stretch of movies. If you like them, strongly suggest you find it.

  19. kiddo says:

    Sophie turner she’s red hair, more like auburn but she’s age apropriate than other actreess mentioned above

  20. mia girl says:

    Oh no. With this news you know that any minute now we’ll be seeing Bella Thorne in a mermaid pose on her Instagram.

  21. Joni says:

    All those suggestions are way too old, apart from Emma Stone. They should just get an unknown like they did for Cinderella.

  22. JustCrimmles says:

    I don’t care who’s in it, just make it and do it right. More mermaid movies!

  23. Peanutbuttr says:

    Can we have one that keeps the original ending?

    There already is an excellent Russian version

  24. Singtress says:

    If they insist on doing it (which they will if Beauty and he the Beast is looking good) I vote for an unknown or Emma Stone. She is adorable and can sing.

  25. ZombieRick says:

    Jesus, hope they do a massive rewrite. Worst modern cartoon ever. Ariel gives up her voice, fins and whole entire life to marry a handsome stranger. Blah.

  26. angela says:

    Sansa Stark….aka Sophie Turner

  27. AnitaCocktail says:

    Bella Thorne could be a good choice if we are going by age and looks. But can she sing?

  28. Susan says:

    Ironically enough, I think Ariel Winter. Besides the name, did you see her recent prom pictures where she died her hair red? Two days ago I saw them and the first thing that popped into my head was she looked like THE Ariel, from The Little Mermaid.

  29. QQ says:

    LMMFAO That’s too precious by half!! wtf this woman is nearly mid 30s and an Oscar Nominee I’d be mortified if my agent/P.R was bringing this kind of nonsense to me or creating this conversation LOLOL

  30. TyrantDestroyed says:

    I will not watch it but I vote for Saoirse Ronan

  31. Ayra. says:

    I happily volunteer. I don’t sing, have red hair, or even have the correct skin tone for this but I can see the Disney paycheck already.. nor can I actually swim, but since we’re in 2016, I’m assuming we have enough special effects to make this work.
    Where do I sign up?

  32. Tiffany says:

    All the actresses listed are….adults and look like it. If I remember, wasn’t Ariel a teen, like 16.

  33. nicegirl says:

    That’s a hard one. Amy Adams is so fabulous, but maybe not in the right age group for Ariel.

    I cannot come up with ANY good suggestions!

  34. Lux says:

    I always thought Isla Fisher looked like the little mermaid.

  35. HeyThere! says:

    Amy Adams can sing, she gorgeous but they will say she’s ‘too old’ :( Amy Adams for the win!!!!!!

  36. OriginallyBlue says:

    But why?
    Also why do people keep casting Chloe Moretz? I feel like she was supposed to blow up awhile ago, but it didn’t happen and they are trying again.

  37. Josefina says:

    I’m not as offended by remakes as most people here are. It’s just a movie, and you don’t have to watch it if you don’t want to. But I do think this one will be impossible to adapt. I can’t begin to imagine how expensive the underwater scenes would be.

  38. pru says:

    Looks like I’m in the minority here, but I like the idea of woman in her thirties playing a Disney princess. I’m not comfortable with the way the fairy tale/fantasy of “finding the perfect man and living happily ever after” has been sold to young girls. It’s feels more appropriate for a grown woman who knows herself, and has more experience in the world to want to settle down and marry “the one”. I just don’t think children need to see a teenager fulfilling her life’s goals (since the Disney trope is usually of finding a Prince, of all things!) at age16.

  39. Marianne says:

    Ariel is 16 years old. So NO I dont want Jessica Chastian or Amy Adams playing the part no matter how talented or how much I like them.

    I could see Disney going with someone like Sophie Turner. She’s a redhead, she’s more the right age and Disney likes to choose Brits. No idea if she can sing though.

  40. Sean says:

    Are your suggestions for playing the little Mermaids Mother? They aren’t going to hire 40 year old women to play a 17 yr old

  41. na na says:

    Ariel was like 16 -18 tops.. i doubt they would use any of those actresses… It’s hollywood afterall they prefer their leading ladies in diapers!

  42. Dingding says:

    Emma Stone or Emma Roberts!!

    Emma Roberts does probably look most like Ariel face-wise.

    There is also a bad witch in Ariel, isn’t there? How about Viola Davis for that one? Or Jessica Chastain?

  43. mia says:

    I’m thinking about Eleanor Tomlinson. She’s british, she has experiencce as actress an she was born in 1992.