Last year it was announced that Sofia Coppola was on board to direct a live-action adaptation of The Little Mermaid over at Universal. Since then, news on the production of the film has been slow going, to a point where many had forgotten about the project. Well now comes word that Coppola is dropping out due to “creative differences” and “casting issues.”
Both Deadline cited the creative differences, while Variety says there was a disagreement with casting. According to them, the Lost In Translation director wanted Maya Thurman Hawke, daughter of Ethan Hawke and Uma Thurman, to play the role of Ariel. This choice did not sit well with Universal and Working Title. Joe Wright (Pan, Anna Karenina) was actually on the shortlist of possible directors, but he is currently in talks to direct The Lifeboat, which is another project over at Focus Features (Universal’s indie company) and Working Title.
Universal along with producers Tim Bevan and Eric Fellner will move forward with the project. They will start with finding a new director, or one that will at least agree on who should play the lead role. The studio did not make any statements regarding the matter.
The script was written by Caroline Thompson (The Nightmare Before Christmas, Edward Scissorhands), who did extensive work on the draft written by Kelly Marcel (Saving Mr. Banks, Fifty Shades of Grey) and Abi Morgan (Shame, The Iron Lady).
Coppola recently wrapped production on the Netflix special A Very Murray Christmas. She co-wrote the project with Bill Murray and Mitch Glazer. It centers on Murray, who plays himself, worrying that no one will show up to his TV show due to a terrible snow storm in New York City. It also stars George Clooney, Chris Rock, Amy Poehler, Miley Cyrus, Danny McBride, Maya Rudolph, Rashida Jones, Rick Ross, Julian Casablancas, Jason Schwartzman, Paul Schaffer, and many more. No exact release date has been announced, but the special will premiere exclusively on Netflix in December.
[Source: Variety | Deadline]