Writer/director Sofia Coppola has built her reputation with such dreamy female-fronted dramas as Lost in Translation, Marie Antoinette, and The Virgin Suicides. So she seemed a perfect pick for Disney’s live-action Little Mermaid remake. Sadly, she parted ways from the flippered flick, and as she promotes her latest heralded release, The Beguiled, this fascinating filmmaker has revealed what could have been.
It’s been previously reported that Coppola was no fan of how big the production was looking to be. She said, “For me, when a movie has a really large budget like that, it just becomes more about business, or business becomes a bigger element than art.”
But talking with Indiewire, Coppola spilled the tea on her ambitious wish that was too much for even Disney’s idea of spectacle. “I wanted to shoot it really underwater,” she confessed. “Which would have been a nightmare. But underwater photography is so beautiful. We even did some tests. It was not very realistic, that approach. But it was interesting to think about.”
I swoon at the very idea of Coppola’s Little Mermaid. Alas! It was not meant to be. And her exit was just one of several jolts to a could-be film that’s been passed to a string of screenwriters (Caroline Thompson, Kelly Marcel and Abi Morgan) and directors (Coppola, Joe Wright, Rebecca Thomas).
After Coppola left, Chloe Grace Moretz was attached to star as the titular mermaid. Then last fall, she dropped out of the project. No new lead has yet been announced, but according to IMDB, Love Actually screenwriter Richard Curtis and Electrick Children helmer Rebecca Thomas are now developing it.
With the live-action Beauty and the Beast making an ungoldly amount of money—despite being pretty shit—you can bet Disney will force some form of The Little Mermaid into live-action. Yet, we’ll always wonder about the underwater wonder that Coppola could have created.