Being a child of the nineties, it's impossible for me not to have seen Disney's The Little Mermaid, and other classics from the Disney Renaissance over a hundred million times. And now, being an adult of the two-thousandths, I've gotten to see most of those take on live-action forms, some good, some alright, and some that should never have left the drawing board. Classics such as Snow White, Sleeping Beauty, Cinderella, and 2016's Beauty and The Beast have all been adapted to some degree of success. The one film, though many have tried and then walked away from, that has not yet seen the light of live-action day is The Little Mermaid. Being that the majority of the film would have to be filmed underwater, I understand the technical limitations we have before us. However, I believe with the technology (and some much-needed advice from James Cameron and Peter Jackson) that this film is finally ready to be made.
Who Should Play These Iconic Characters?
Ariel (Carlson Young)
Ariel is the center of the entire film and the majority of the focus will always be on her. This will require an actress who can grab an audience's attention and keep it there. Ariel's transition from rebellious teenager to love-struck heroine is expressed so vividly throughout her emotional and highly expressive facial and body language. Carlson Young, a relative newcomer to the mainstream, handled herself perfectly on the set of her MTV series, Scream, where I have to say she was undoubtedly one of the best actors on the show. I believe she possesses a natural ability to portray Ariel's particular kind of spunk and also allow herself to become emotional and let the walls down much like Ariel did when she sang 'Part of Your World.'
Flounder (Pierce Gagnon)
Ariel needs her best friend. No question about that. Flounder is the geeky sidekick we all dream of having and it would take an immense talent to bring him to life. Pierce Gagnon has been astonishing audiences since he was six years old when he shot the film Looper with Bruce Willis and Joseph Gordon-Levitt. Because this role would require voice acting only, you'd need someone who can bring that little spark of originality and attitude to a character that has been beloved by generations. Also, they're both downright adorable. Come on.
King Triton (Jeff Bridges)
King Triton is a scary dude, plain and simple. He has a powerful voice and a commanding lead over every creature in all the oceans. Everything he does, he does to protect his daughters, especially the headstrong Ariel. Jeff Bridges first came to mind as someone who can be that voice, be that man in charge, and reinvigorate everyone's childhood fears of scoldings from their father. Also, Bridges has quite the knack of growing fantastic beards. And have you seen those eyebrows? Oh yeah, this guy will do just fine.
Sebastian (Samuel E. Wright)
It takes a certain kind of charisma and vocal prowess to portray Sebastian. Who better to do that than the man who voiced him in the original film? Since no live action scenes will be required of Sam Wright, why not? There's really no harm here. Sebastian was modeled after this man, after all. Nobody on this planet could bring the character to life like this man has been doing for the past three decades.
Scuttle (Lewis Black)
Scuttle is batshit crazy, we all know this. He also tries (and fails miserably) to be the best friend he can possibly be while clearly suffering from some sort of learning disability or perhaps dropped on his head one too many times. I believe that Lewis Black is the perfect choice for this character. No live-action acting needed, but he can still bring his unique personality into his portrayal of Scuttle and I believe it is one that will resonate very well with fans of the original film.
Prince Eric (Logan Lerman)
Prince Eric is probably one of the most forgettable Disney Princes in their entire lineup. Ariel was the focus of the story and she save his life way before he saved hers. So for this casting, we would need a young actor who isn't so easily forgettable and can portray a well to do handsome young prince and a fierce warrior who will do anything to protect the woman he loves. I think Lerman has already demonstrated he has the ability to do that and so much more with his amazing credentials as an actor.
Grimsby (Patrick Stewart)
Grimsby is Prince Eric's loyal watchdog and supplementary father figure for the duration of the film. There's never any mention of Eric's mother or father, so we can guess that we have a Bruce Wayne/Alfred Pennyworth type situation going on here. This would also explain why Grimsby is in such a rush to help Eric find the perfect bride. He knows he won't be around forever and he doesn't want him to be alone. It wouldn't be the most prolific role Patrick Stewart has ever done, but it certainly be something he could easily accomplish given his stature with playing father figures for disparaged youth.
Chef Louis (Gerard Depardieu)
Chef Louis is another dedicated servant of Prince Eric. He's clearly of French descent and he loves to violently cook seafood. He's also got an impeccable sense of fashion (for his era). Gerard Depardieu has had a bit of a rough patch these past few years, I think starring in a small supporting role in a child's fantasy film is exactly what he needs to get himself back to where he used to be when he was charming all of us as Bogus.
Carlotta (Dawn French)
Like Louis and Grimsby, Carlotta really only ever has the best intentions for Prince Eric and when Ariel is stumbled upon on the beach, Carlotta takes excellent care of her when she's brought to the castle. She can see the sparks flying between the two and is willing to do whatever it takes to help Eric see just how wonderful a girl she really is. Dawn French has the uncanny ability to bring any character she portrays to life in new and vivid ways. She's funny, she's witty, and she's absolutely stunning. A perfect casting call if you ask me.
Ursula (Queen Latifah)
Ursula is, without a single doubt, one of the most heinous, cruel, malicious, devilish villains to ever come out of the Disney money-making machine. She's truly terrifying and she has no quarrels or dilemmas about ending a person's life or dooming them to spend an eternity watching others fall victim to her foul play. Queen Latifah is everything you'd want in an actress when casting Ursula. She can sing, she can dance, and she can be so bad it hurts. She's one of the best actresses out there right now and she's the only one who can play Ursula to her full potential in a live-action remake.
But alas, it seems so many failed in their efforts to get this film off the ground, I'm not sure Disney is even confident in their ability to take it on. Just imagine the wonders of modern day technology bringing this timeless tale to life in ways we could only dream about, the colors, the songs, the amazing finale. It might literally blow my mind right out of my skull.