Back in 2010, director Joe Wright, of Atonement fame, was supposedly putting together a live-action, 3D take on the Little Mermaid. Only now he’s busy making Peter Pan a gritty WWII origin story. The live-action Little Mermaid job has since fallen to the next logical choice: Sofia Coppola, who most recently filmed people saying “wow” in The Bling Ring.
Caroline Thompson [Edward Scissorhands] will rewrite the script with previous drafts penned by Kelly Marcel and Abi Morgan.
Not much is known about how this take will compare to previous versions of the Hans Christian Andersen novel, which followed a mermaid who wished to become human after falling in love with a man she saved from drowning. [Variety]
Sofia Coppola directing actually makes a lot of sense. The Little Mermaid is basically about a disaffected princess whose famous father, the king of the sea, resents her burgeoning sexuality. Feeling isolated from the rest of the world, she eventually channels her growing ennui into an interracial romance. And in this new version, I hear she even plays ukulele in an indie band called “The Dinglehoppers.”
While we all remember the Disney version, the original Hans Christian Andersen Little Mermaid was pretty dark. Here’s an excerpt from the Wikipedia plot summary:
The Little Mermaid, longing for the prince and an eternal soul, eventually visits the Sea Witch, who sells her a potion that gives her legs, in exchange for her tongue (as the Little Mermaid has the most intoxicating voice in the world). Drinking the potion will make her feel as if a sword is being passed through her, yet when she recovers she will have two beautiful legs, and will be able to dance like no human has ever danced before. However, it will constantly feel like she is walking on sharp swords, and her feet will bleed most terribly. In addition, she will only get a soul if the prince loves her and marries her, for then a part of his soul will flow into her. Otherwise, at dawn on the first day after he marries another woman, the Little Mermaid will die brokenhearted and disintegrate into sea foam.
The Sofia Coppola version of this story will involve two hours of the little mermaid and the prince kissing under a sheet and dancing to synth pop hits while feeling alienated from normal society because of their wealth. Then, at the very end, the sea witch offers the mermaid this horrible bargain. “So, what do you say?” says the witch. The little mermaid leans close to the witch and whispers something in her ear, but we can’t quite hear what it is. FIN.