Sony Presses Ahead With Its ‘Little Mermaid’ Re-Imagining

Published 3 years ago by , Updated March 9th, 2013 at 1:50 pm,

Sony presses ahead with Little Mermaid retelling Sony Presses Ahead With Its Little Mermaid Re Imagining

Old-fashioned fairy tales are generally a bit on the dark side, especially the sort of Germanic folklore recounted by the Brothers Grimm. Hollywood nonetheless has several fairy tale re-imaginings in motion, most of which promise to be either a more gritty and modern take on a classic story (the upcoming Snow White movies), a more warped and macabre retelling of a well-known fantasy tale (Guillermo del Toro’s Pinocchio), or a more action-packed yarn with beloved characters (Hansel and Gretel: Witch Hunters).

It comes as little surprise then that arguably Hans Christian Anderson’s most famous work, The Little Mermaid, is also returning to the big screen in a darker light (minus the singing crabs and fish, a la Disney’s classic animated version of the story).

The project in question is Sony’s Mermaid: A Twist on the Classic Tale, based on the popular novel written by Carolyn Turgeon and published earlier this year. Turgeon’s work purports to put a darker spin on Anderson’s story about a young mermaid who strikes a deal with a sea witch to become human, so that she may romance a human prince. Unlike in the Disney cartoon, things don’t work out so nicely.

Variety is reporting that Shana Feste has signed on to both write and direct a cinematic version of Turgeon’s Mermaid. Feste became a bigger name in 2010 after she wrote and directed the musical melodrama Country Strong, which boasted the Golden Globe/Oscar nominated song “Coming Home” – but failed to bring the sort of awards glory to star Gwyneth Paltrow that it was clearly being positioned for.

Last year, Joe Wright was said to be working on his own Little Mermaid movie, as a followup to his own princess fairy tale “re-imagining” – this year’s Hanna. There’s been no recent word about the status of that project, so it cannot be said right now whether or not there will competing Mermaid films arriving in the future – like the dual Snow White pics scheduled for release in June next year.

Saoirse Ronan Hanna movie Sony Presses Ahead With Its Little Mermaid Re Imagining

Saoirse Ronan in 'Hanna'.

Mermaid sounds most similar to Universal’s Snow White and the Huntsman, in the sense that it largely differs from its inspiration by fleshing out and expanding the role of a pivotal supporting character – in this case, the human princess (here, named Margrethe) who serves as the Little Mermaid’s (Lenia) rival for the prince’s affection. Although a love triangle forms between the three of them, Turgeon’s original novel seemingly does not travel down the Twilight road of supernatural romance.

Anderson’s take on The Little Mermaid is (not surprisingly) far more bittersweet and melancholy a tale that Disney’s 1989 film adaptation, which most people are familiar with. Feste’s Mermaid may offer an even darker version of the story than Anderson’s – but whether or not that’s a good thing is up for debate right now.

On the other hand: considering that more recent films featuring mermaids haven’t always painted the mystical creatures in the most innocuous of lights (see: Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides), a darker take on The Little Mermaid might not seem so unusual after all.

Source: Variety

TAGS: mermaid, the little mermaid

17 Comments

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  1. Sandy…

    Great article, and thank you for the heads up. This is a great fairy tale, although I would argue that “The Snow Queen” is Andersen’s most well-known story. The Disney version was cute (I have it in my collection), but I definitely welcome a version closer in the telling to the original Andersen tale.

    I know nothing of the novel you say the film will adapt, but the Andersen story is quite grim (pun not intended, though serviceable). Suffice it to say, the mermaid does NOT live “happily ever after”.

  2. Enough of all these retellins, reboots, sequels, prequels and anything adapted from a tv show.

    Enough is enough!!!!

  3. why dont they do some live action films that were cartoons like they have done before. like little mermaid,beauty and the beast,aladdin,and others? could be good for the whole family if done right i would take my wife and four kids.

  4. Hey, I know! Let’s Remake SPLASH while we are at it!. Because that would be a GREAT idea!. ( I’ve not be sarcastic or anything.)

  5. Did Disney recently lose the rights to all these properties, or are they open license for anyone to make a movie about?

    This sounds pretty dumb in my opinion. Leave the Little Mermaid as the kids story Disney gave us…..there is very little quality childrens entertainment these days, and this was one of the good ones.

    • Did Disney recently lose the rights to all these properties, or are they open license for anyone to make a movie about?

      This sounds pretty dumb in my opinion. Leave the Little Mermaid as the kids story Disney gave us…..there is very little quality childrens entertainment these days, and this was one of the good ones.”

      Can’t you read? The Disney movie is based on a story that is centuries old. Hence it is in the public domain, and therefore Disney does not hold the sole rights to ir. But I guess if a story has been made once, no other attempts should ever be made again to re-adapt it! This is something Hollywood has only recently held to- witness the fact that no more Dracula movies were made after the 1931 version, and each Sherlock Holmes story has likewise only been adapted once.

      • Wow, thanks for being an @$$, it was a simple question.

        Jerk.

      • DC,

        That was uncalled for. You could have easily answered the question without the “Can’t you read” comment.

        Vic

    • Disney doesn’t own the rights to the stories, the majority of Disney films are simply adaptations of stories in the public domain.

      • Thank You. Wasn’t sure, if like many of the current comic book type adaptions, there were rights to these films.

        • To be more polite, Doom, I just get a little astounded that so many people always come out with variations of Ezee-T’s:

          “Enough of all these retellins, reboots, sequels, prequels and anything adapted from a tv show.

          Enough is enough!!!!”

          If you know a little about film, I don’t see how people can not realize this is what Hollywood has always done. Look at the endless re-tellings of King Arthur, Frankenstein, The Three Musketeers, Dracula, Shakespeare, Tarzan, Sherlock Holmes, fairy tales, mythology, etc. And as Hollywood fills the cinemas to bursting more and more every year, every year more stories get added to the revolving door of retellings. Sometimes the shadow of an adaptation can loom large and forestall any new version almost indefinitely (like Lord of the Rings), but most of the time a new version, especially if it is not particularly faithful, can be expected within a few decades when a fan of the original material decides to give it another try.

          Personally, if they actually take this story and portray the mermaid as kind of a psycho stalker (which a summary makes it sound like it does), I’d be willing to give it a shot; this is the kind of fresh take that should always be given a chance.

          Anyway, I always felt that if you are passionate enough about film to sign up to comment on a site, you should know enough to know why Elsee’s statement was so silly; at least Doom simply didn’t quite understand how rights and public domain works in this instance. I read the comments so fast doom and Elsee’s words blended together, so I was a little rude; so, sorry about that.

          • Fair enough. I appreciate the response.

            I am fine with retellings, reboots etc…. I just find there is very little quality child entertainment out there. I would hate to see something like this become evil and dark and have the very well done children’s version fall into obscurity, thats all I was saying.

            • “I would hate to see something like this become evil and dark and have the very well done children’s version fall into obscurity.”

              So you would hate for them to do … the ORIGINAL story?

              Also its classic Disney animation, I don’t think it will fall into obscurity any time soon, people still know what Steamboat Willy is, and they certainly know Snow White, Bambi, The Jungle Book, The Sword in the Stone, etc.

              • Wow, people are so angry.

                Personally, I never read the original story. I just think that the one that has been told was very good.

                I am not 100% against stories being changed etc… when something gets old and overdone. I was a HUGE proponent of the Robin Hood concept being told from the other side before it got changed back to being just the normal Robin Hood story. Just sometimes, things are best left the way they are.

                Did I spark some sort of rampant Little Mermaid fan base uproar?

                • Ha, no dude, I just think that if you haven’t read the original then you shouldn’t exactly be saying that you would hate for them to make it. I’m not taking anything away from the Disney version, in fact I love it, but I would hope that if a version of the Little Mermaid is to be remembered, it’d be the version that Anderson wrote. It’s a much better story as it is.

                • For me I like the Disney version but as others point out the original wasn’t so happy go lucky. In fact Disney Studios did a lot more then just change the source material they out and out changed the whole moral of the story and replaced it with a very poor moral lesson (sell your soul and you will never suffer any permanent consequences and that you will come out ahead if you do so). Anderson’s tale has a much better moral and is a lot more redemptive as well. I think most people got annoyed because you equated Disney’s version with the original which they are definitely not a on the same level in any way shape or form.

                  • Concurred. Disney has always had poor moral lessons when it comes to women.

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