Chloe Moretz has had quite a few performances in big-name pictures and independent films over the last few years, but the 17-year-old actress will now go under the sea for an upcoming role. Before you start singing along with the classic soundtrack from the 1989 animated Disney movie, let me just tell you that this version of The Little Mermaid will be a Working Title and Universal Pictures production. Richard Curtis is in talks to adapt the Hans Christian Andersen tale.
Variety reports that Moretz will don the fins and flippers as the title character but not much else is known about the latest adaptation at the moment. Since Andersen’s creation is in the public domain, Universal is free to tackle the tale with their own interpretation; of course, Disney is also able to bring one of their most famous princesses to life in a live-action movie should they choose to do so. But rather than Moretz acting opposite singing fish and an all-powerful octopus woman, I’d wager that Curtis’ take will skew closer to the classic and much darker story.
Andersen’s “The Little Mermaid” is an 1837 fairy tale that sees the title character living in an undersea kingdom with her mer-king father, her grandmother, and her five sisters. When mermaids come of age, they’re granted the freedom to swim to the surface and observe the world above; they then return home to share their observations with the family. The Little Mermaid gets her chance to view the surface world and soon falls in love with a handsome prince whom she saves from drowning. Sounds pretty familiar so far, right?
Smitten, the Little Mermaid then visits a Sea Witch who offers her a potion that will grant her legs to walk upon the earth in exchange for her tongue … and the added warnings that: it will feel like she’s walking on sharp swords, she’ll never be able to return to the sea, and must obtain the prince’s true love/kiss/marriage/soul before he marries another, otherwise she’ll die brokenhearted and disintegrate into sea foam. This leads to an odd romance in which the prince loves to watch the mysterious and mute mermaid-turned-human dance even though it pains her terribly. Unlike the Disney-fied fairy tale, the prince opts to marry another, dooming the little mermaid unless she murders the prince with an enchanted blade in order to return to her undersea life. That’s not exactly how it ends up, but the resolution has a much more spiritual and religious tinge to it rather than a “Happily Ever After” vibe.
Previously, The Little Mermaid had Sofia Coppola attached to direct but she left due to creative differences. Moretz was eyed for the role at that time, but Universal didn’t want to make it official until they secured Curtis to do another draft of the script. There’s no director or release date set at the moment, but with Moretz on board, that should change soon.