The Little Mermaid Director on Choosing “Iconic” Moments to Adapt


The director of Disney’s The Little Mermaid is breaking down his thought process behind choosing which popular scenes to recreate.

The Little Mermaid is obviously a Disney classic, and in essence, is literally full of memorable moments that have made an impression on fans for decades, but in just a few days, the first major live-action adaptation of the film will finally hit theaters to offer new and returning fans plenty of beloved moments to either revisit or even reinterpret. So how does one decide what’s worth incorporating into a new story?

The Little Mermaid director Rob Marshall recently answered that exact question to Collider, telling them, “Well, you know, there are certain iconic moments – Listen, we’re a fan of the original film, too, just like all the fans that love it, and so there are things that are sacred, I feel, just as important as a lyric or even a line of dialogue. There are things you hold on to, images that you hold on to, and we knew we needed to hold on to those. But at the same time, this is a completely different genre. You’re in a live-action form; there’s so much more opportunity to expand, to deepen, to actually infuse with true emotion, you have real people there, and so that was exciting.”

Credit Disney

Marshall elaborates, “As we started to work on it, we thought… Listen, an animated film from 1989, which is obviously beloved there, that’s the bones of what you’re working from, but we went directly back to the Hans Christian Andersen tale, first thing, and we found a very emotional and modern story. So it was written almost 200 years ago, and it’s so contemporary and timely about a young girl who feels displaced, wants something different in her life, and she goes on this epic journey of self-discovery to break down the barriers between herself and people that are different than her, the human world. And that was very moving to us that she is working to build a bridge to break down the wall between her and and someone that’s different than her.”

The Little Mermaid Cast and Synopsis

The film’s summary reads: “Ariel, the youngest daughter of the kingdom Atlantica’s ruler King Triton, is fascinated with the human world, but mermaids are forbidden to explore it. After saving Prince Eric from a shipwreck and falling in love with him, she becomes determined to be with him in the world above water. These actions lead to a confrontation with her father and an encounter with the conniving sea witch Ursula, making a deal with her to trade her beautiful voice for human legs so she can discover the world above water and impress Eric. However, this ultimately places her life (and her father’s crown) in jeopardy.”

The Little Mermaid is led by Marshall and stars singer Halle Bailey as the titular character. The film additionally stars Daveed Diggs (Hamilton), Jacob Tremblay (Luca), Awkwafina (Raya and the Last Dragon), Jonah Hauer-King (A Dog’s Way Home), Art Malik (Homeland), Noma Dumezweni (Mary Poppins Returns), Javier Bardem (No Country for Old Men) and Melissa McCarthy (Bridesmaids). The film arrives in theaters worldwide on May 26.


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Posted in: Disney, Movies | Tagged: disney, film, rob marshall, the little mermaid

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