(Not) part of your world. The director of the upcoming live-action adaptation of The Little Mermaid explained in a new interview on Tuesday (April 4) why Harry Styles didn’t end up playing Prince Eric.
“We met with him. He was lovely. What a wonderful guy,” director Rob Marshall confirmed to Entertainment Weekly. “But at the end of the day, he really felt like he wanted to go off and do the movies that he ended up doing, which were sort of darker.”
The movies Marshall referenced included the pop star’s leading roles in the 2022 sci-fi thriller Don’t Worry Darling opposite Florence Pugh and Chris Pine, directed by Styles’ former girlfriend Olivia Wilde, and the LGBTQ drama My Policeman.
Marshall also posited that the former One Directioner’s choice to turn down the Disney musical may have been an intentional strategy on his part. “For a lot of young musical people like Harry, you’re trying to carve your way and you don’t wanna be seen as a singer, necessarily,” he stated. “That’s why he was really looking to do something not in the musical genre, to really stretch himself. It was really a fun idea to play with, but in the end, I always think things happen for a reason. I’m so happy to have two young, new people in the film.”
Instead, British actor Jonah Hauer-King will portray Prince Eric in the film, which opens in theaters May 26 and stars Halle Bailey as Ariel, Melissa McCarthy as Ursula, Daveed Diggs as Sebastian, Jacob Tremblay as Flounder and more.