Harry Styles lost out on the role of the King of Rock to Austin Butler, but apparently he might rebound with the role of prince of unnamed seaside kingdom featured in The Little Mermaid. Yes, a day after very publicly losing out on the role of Elvis Presley, The Hollywood Reporter claims that Styles is now in early discussion to star opposite Halle Bailey's Ariel as Prince Eric in the Rob Marshall-directed live action remake. (To keep you up to date Melissa McCarthy, Awkwafina, and Jacob Tremblay are also in negotiations for the roles of Ursula, Scuttle, and Flounder, respectively).
Whether he gets it or not, Styles certainly seems to be quite in demand for hot leading roles. That's impressive considering his only previous film role was a small part in Christopher Nolan's war film Dunkirk. It makes you wonder if, behind the scenes, Styles is actively plotting out a career shift to leading man or, whether, he's getting all sorts of invitations to audition based on the simple fact that he's, well, Harry Styles, and people seem to love Harry Styles. Maybe the multi-hyphenate is just looking for something else to do between albums other than simply "Gucci muse."
Variety reporter Justin Kroll added some context on Twitter, suggesting that Styles had long been first choice for the role, but wanted to see whether or not he was chosen for the Elvis biopic first.
In Disney's original animated movie, Prince Eric is less a fully fleshed out character than he is a plot device with a great jawline. The character doesn't sing a single song, and his main interests appear to be sailing, his dog, and the voice of the girl that saves him. We're not even told which kingdom, exactly, he's a prince of, or if he's directly in line to the throne or is more of a Prince Harry situation.
The Reporter indicates that Styles might get a little bit more to do if he wins the part, pointing to the fact that Prince Eric sings on multiple songs (and even gets two solo numbers) in Disney's Broadway adaptation of the film. That version of the film also re-centers the story so Ariel's character arc isn't completely about being hung up on a boy.
Of course, no deals are signed yet, but one would expect the rest of the cast to fall in place now that the main character has been cast.
Though, at least we now have a possible actor to go along with the role of Eric. The Hollywood rumor mill has been absolutely quiet about who may fill other iconic roles like the crab Sebastian, ultimate underwater daddy King Triton, and, most notably, Flotsam and Jetsom the eels.