Disney’s live-action remake of the classic animated tale The Little Mermaid is among the most anticipated movies of the year. Like the 1989 original, the film, which premieres on May 26, tells the story of a beautiful young mermaid named Ariel, whose fascination with the human world leads her to the surface where she falls for a handsome prince. Five-time Grammy nominee Halle Bailey was cast as the lead back in 2019, while Little Women’s Jonah Hauer-King landed the role of Prince Eric. However, One Direction alum Harry Styles was almost cast as the dashing young prince, and the film’s director has now revealed why things ultimately didn’t work out.
Speaking to Entertainment Weekly ahead of The Little Mermaid’s release, director Rob Marshall disclosed that he “met with” the singer during the early casting process. “He was lovely. What a wonderful guy,” Marshall said of Styles. “But at the end of the day, he really felt like he wanted to go off and do the movies that he ended up doing, which were sort of darker.”
Marshall added that musicians like Styles often “don’t want to be seen as a singer” on the big screen and prefer to “do something not in the musical genre.” He continued: “It was really a fun idea to play with, but in the end, I always think things happen for a reason. I’m so happy to have two young, new people in the film.”
Speaking to The Face back in 2019, the Don’t Worry Darling star confirmed that his potential involvement in The Little Mermaid “was discussed.” However, at the time, he wanted to “put music out and focus on that for a while.” Styles added: “But everyone involved in it was amazing, so I think it’s going to be great. I’ll enjoy watching it, I’m sure.”