The live-action version of The Little Mermaid has officially cast its Prince Eric! And no, it's not Harry Styles, even though he was in talks for a second there. The person who will play opposite Halle Bailey as the dashing (albeit kind of clueless) Prince Eric is...drum roll please...
Jonah Hauer-King! Deadline first reported the news that the British actor has won the role. He'll star in the Rob Marshall-directed movie alongside Bailey as Ariel, Melissa McCarthy as Ursula, Awkwafina as Scuttle, and Jacob Tremblay as Flounder. As of right now, the actor circling the role of King Triton is none other than Javier Bardem. But let's get back to Jonah.
Who is Jonah Hauer-King from The Little Mermaid?
The 24-year-old British actor has appeared in TV series like World on Fire and Agatha and the Curse of Ishtar, and he's shown up in films like Postcards from London and A Dog's Way Home. Perhaps his best-known role was as Laurie in a 2017 television adaptation of Little Women, which also starred Stranger Things' Maya Hawke. I think it's safe to say the role of Prince Eric will be his big break.
Hauer-King auditioned for the role after Harry Styles "respectfully declined the offer," according to People magazine. The conversation about having Harry play Prince Eric definitely happened, but he wanted to focus on his music and it just wasn't the right thing for him. So in steps Jonah Hauer-King.
Deadline reported that Hauer-King won the role over the other actor being considered, Krypton's Cameron Cuffe. The two have been vying for the part at least since September. He certainly looks like Prince Eric from the Disney animated original film, but as you know, there have been some shake-ups in the cast when it comes to actors' resemblance to the cartoon.
Some people weren't happy with the casting of Halle Bailey as Ariel.
One half of the group Chloe x Halle, Halle Bailey is a black woman, and there was a good amount of backlash when her casting was announced. People used hashtags like #NotMyAriel to complain that the live-action movie about a mermaid who loses her voice due to a curse and grows legs wasn't going to be "accurate" enough.
But the actor and singer definitely fits the role. As director Rob Marshall said in a statement, "After an extensive search, it was abundantly clear that Halle possesses that rare combination of spirit, heart, youth, innocence, and substance — plus a glorious singing voice — all intrinsic qualities necessary to play this iconic role."
I have no doubt that Halle Bailey and Jonah Hauer-King will possess the energy and spirit to capture the magic of The Little Mermaid. Composer Alan Menken is working with Lin-Manuel Miranda to develop new songs for the movie and Daveed Diggs in talks to play Sebastian, so this movie is going to be a lot of fun.
When does the live-action Little Mermaid come out?
That's a good question. It does seem like we've been talking about this movie forever, but we've still got aways to go. It doesn't have a release date yet, and in fact, it's only rumored to start filming in April 2020.