The 25-year-old British singer with Disney-prince good looks is in preliminary discussions to play Prince Eric opposite Halle Bailey’s Ariel, EW has learned; a source clarifies to EW that these talks are still “premature.”
Disney had no comment.
In the 1989 original animated movie, Prince Eric, voiced then by Christopher Daniel Barnes, didn’t have any musical moments. He was just the human pretty boy who propelled the mermaid Ariel to strike a Faustian bargain with the sea witch Ursula to give up her tail and her voice in order to walk on land and fall in love.
We know that composer Alan Menken is working with Lin-Manuel Miranda to develop new songs to accompany Menken and Howard Ashman’s original score. So, with Disney pursuing Styles for the role, it seems safe to assume Eric will be showing off his pipes this time around in the new movie musical, directed by Mary Poppins Returns‘ Rob Marshall.
Styles, who rose to stardom as one-fifth of One Direction, would join in a leading role opposite Bailey, who’s a protege of Beyoncé Knowles-Carter as a member of R&B duo Chloe x Halle. In other words, a very musical leading duo.
Also in talks are Melissa McCarthy for Ursula, Jacob Tremblay for Flounder, and Awkwafina for Scuttle.
The Hollywood Reporter was the first to report the news.