Although production has been halted owing to the outbreak of Coronavirus, details on Disney's The Little Mermaid remake are starting to trickle through.
In a clip from The Rosie O'Donnell show, esteemed composer Alan Menken, who scored the original 1989 animation, gave away a few choice nuggets about the live-action movie. Namely, that he's recorded four brand new songs with the ubiquitous Lin-Manuel Miranda, who's already something of a Disney veteran following his involvement in Moana and Mary Poppins Returns. Check out Menken's segment at 1:02 into the following video.
The Little Mermaid will be directed by Into the Woods and Mary Poppins Returns helmer Rob Marshall. Halle Bailey takes on the role of Ariel, with Melissa McCarthy as Ursula, Awkwafina as Scuttle, Jacob Tremblay as Flounder, Jonah Hauer-King as Prince Eric, Daveed Diggs as Sebastian and Javier Bardem as King Triton.
Of course, Menken's presence is vital – he and late lyricist Howard Ashman won a clutch of Oscars for the original movie, and are credited with kick-starting the 'Disney renaissance' period. By bringing a dash of Broadway pizazz and wit back to Disney animation, they helped revitalise the fortunes of the company, which had suffered years of stalling movies prior to The Little Mermaid.
Menken and Ashman's magic touch was later demonstrated, again to Oscar-winning effect, on Beauty and the Beast and Aladdin. (Ashman sadly passed away before the former was released.) Menken's abilities are now in demand given the current wave of Disney remakes: he re-adapted his gorgeous score for Beauty and the Beast in the 2017 live-action reboot, and performed the same feat in 2019's blockbuster hit Aladdin.
As confirmed in the above video, Menken is also working on Disenchanted, the sequel to 2007 Amy Adams movie Enchanted. And although we don't yet know when The Little Mermaid will resume production, the combination of cast, composer and director will surely be worth the wait. The film is currently scheduled for release in 2021.
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