‘Fifty Shades of Grey’ Screenwriter Tackling Live-Action ‘Little Mermaid’ Movie

Published 2 years ago by

Disneys The Little Mermaid Fifty Shades of Grey Screenwriter Tackling Live Action Little Mermaid Movie

Working Title Pictures has had an adaptation of The Little Mermaid brewing for years now, with Joe Wright (Hanna) attached to direct. Details have been scant as the project labored in development purgatory, but what we do know is that it will be the first live-action English language version of the classic fairy tale.

The well-known animated Disney adaptation is actually very faithful to Hans Christian Andersen’s original story (up until, the end, at least; Andersen’s conclusion to the tale doesn’t fit very well with the traditionally romantic Disney princess story arc), but does gloss over some of the more unpleasant aspects of it, such as the fact that the Little Mermaid actually has her tongue cut out and is cursed to feel agonising pain whenever she walks on her human legs.

It remains to be seen whether Wright’s version of The Little Mermaid will be closer to Andersen’s work, or whether it will apply a new twist to the tale, but at least the project now seems to be moving ahead. Deadline reports that Kelly Marcel, one of the co-creators of short-lived sci-fi show Terra Nova, has been hired to rewrite the script, which was originally penned by Abi Morgan (Shame).

Marcel is already committed to the major project of adapting E.L. James’ steamy erotic novel Fifty Shades of Grey for the big screen, which comes with the challenge of making it something other than easy Rifftrax fodder (sample line from the book: “You’ve got a taste for this, haven’t you, Miss Steele?“/”I’ve only got a taste for you.”) If she’s capable of that then adapting Andersen’s beautiful and evocative fairy tale should be a cakewalk.

Edmund Dulac The Little Mermaid Fifty Shades of Grey Screenwriter Tackling Live Action Little Mermaid Movie

Joe Wright has notably made waves in the thriller genre with Hanna, but his other works have shown evidence of a real talent for period drama and doomed romance. His recent adaptation of Anna Karenina employed a technique of fascinating choreographed on-screen set changes and theatricality, in reference to historian Orlando Figes’ description of the Russian nobility living their lives as though they were actors on a stage. That kind of creative vision and originality could be just what this familiar story needs to freshen it up.

Are you looking forward to seeing what Wright and Marcel have to offer, or have you been left with fairy tale fatigue after the recent barrage of Snow White, Sleeping Beauty, Hansel and Gretel, Jack the Giant Slayer and Beauty and the Beast adaptations?


The Little Mermaid doesn’t have a scheduled release date yet, but we’ll keep you updated as the project develops.

Source: Deadline

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  1. I’m all for a little Mermaid flick as long as we get to see her naked, especially her gills.

    But most importantly, will she hook up with Aquaman of The Sub Mariner?

  2. Yes! I actually love the little mermaid. To be honest. The cartoon movie is actually pretty awesome. Along with beauty and the beast. Some great Disney classics. Get lyndsy fonseca in there And I’m sold.

  3. You do know that Joe Wright directed Atonement, Pride and Prejudice and the soloist as well, right? Then why did you say he only directed Anna Karenina and Hanna

    • I didn’t say he only directed ‘Anna Karenina’ and ‘Hanna’. I mentioned ‘Anna Karenina’ and ‘Hanna’ as two films that he had directed, focusing on them because they happen to be his two most recent films.

      I was also indirectly referencing ‘Atonement’ with the mention of “doomed romance,” and both ‘Atonement’ and ‘Pride and Prejudice’ when I cited his experience with period dramas.

      • GOT HEEM

    • Parents shouldn’t take their kids to see any Disney movie…

      … lest they are all for the subliminal stuff.

      • Yep with their subliminals in The Little Mermaid already.

        Daniel Day-Lewis to play Ariel please. Could be the only actor to win Leading Male 3 times AND Leading Female at the Oscars and what a transformation that would be. Method acting would involve living in an aquarium at Sea World for a month to get into character.

    • Mongoose;

      I believe you meant to write “sordid” not ‘sorted.’

      • /curses his spell corrector.

        I must have spelled it wrong in the first place but the spelling was closer to sorted. Spell checker for ftl

    • The majority of the old fairy tales Disney took and sanitized for the general public have very dark themes woven in them. That is part of the evil genius of Disney, take public domain semi-horror stories and turn them into family friendly musicals. If they do go ahead with an adaption more in line with the original story it might turn off certain demographics who only identify this story with the cute version Disney did.

      • Yes most “fairy tales” are pretty grizzly, especially compared with their Disney counterparts.

  4. quality

  5. Under the sea, get her wetter take it from me.

  6. Emma Watson would be perfect in the role.

  7. You what, I think the original fairy tale ending is just plain dumb. I don’t need happy endings all the time, but what was the point of her turning into seafoam? How does it add to the story?

    • …to show the dangers of dealing with forces you don’t fully understand or appreciate? You didn’t get that? It was obvious…

  8. Christina Hendricks would be an inspired choice for Ariel…

  9. Mermaid films don’t have a great history in the cinema. Splash didn’t, Aquamarine bombed. Its only the animated Disney tale that has really got its head above water… A live action version of it however may not pull off the same trick.

  10. Emma Stone FTW

  11. There was an original little mermaid movie where Ariel dies at the end and turns into sea foam……for realz.

  12. Darn and here I was waiting for a Fantasia Movie

  13. “Ask any mermaid you happen to see, what’s the best tuna? Chicken of the sea!”

    • Actually, Star-Kist…you know these screen-writers never stick to the source material!

  14. If they can do a good job with the underwater CGI i’ll definitely be interested

  15. Meh

  16. I love Joe Wright. Pride and prejudice was fantastic.

  17. I need to be in this film, love how it’s a twist to the fairy tale version. Updates please!!!

  18. Personally I think if the screen writer based the movie from Carolyn turgeon’s book mermaid it would be awesome. The book was well written and I thought it was the best I have read so far. If the story of the little mermaid was true that would be the closest telling to the truth. Hopefully im not the only one who thinks so.

  19. I’m THINKING ” ISLA FISHER ” to play Ariel please….