Cameron Cuffe and Jonah Hauer-King are the latest actors to test for the role of Prince Eric in Disney's live-action The Little Mermaid. With Disney Animation Renaissance hits Beauty and the Beast, Aladdin, and The Lion King having all gotten a makeover in live-action (or photorealistic CGI, in The Lion King's case), it was only a matter of time before Disney's animated adaptation of The Little Mermaid - which kicked off said Renaissance - followed suit. And in recent months, the film's live-action retelling has been filling out its cast like there's no tomorrow.
So far, The Little Mermaid director Rob Marshall (Chicago, Mary Poppins Returns) has assembled a crew that includes pop star-actor Halle Bailey playing mermaid princess Ariel opposite Melissa McCarthy as the sea witch Ursula and, potentially, Javier Bardem as Ariel's father, King Triton. Disney also approached Harry Styles about playing Ariel's love interest, the human Prince Eric, earlier this year, but he eventually decided to pass on the role. Now, it appears the studio may've already (possibly) found his replacement.
According to Deadline, Cuffe (who's best known for playing Superman's grandfather, Seg-El, on the TV series Krypton) and Hauer-King both tested for Marshall to play Eric in The Little Mermaid this week. Disney refrained from commenting on the news today, which could mean the casting process for Eric is far from over at this stage.
Of the pair, Cuffe is the bigger name thanks to SYFY's Superman prequel TV series, and has an opening in his schedule (following Krypton's cancellation in August) that The Little Mermaid could fill nicely. Hauer-King, by comparison, is an unknown for many people, with his previous roles including a turn as Laurie Laurence in 2017's Little Women mini-series and the lead (human) character, Lucas, in the family-friendly doggo adventure, A Dog's Way Home, from earlier this year. Neither of them are anywhere near as famous as Styles, but that's not actually a problem. Disney's live-action remakes of their animated classics are practically a brand unto themselves by now, so it's not as though The Little Mermaid needs to worry about star-power.
Arguably, the more interesting question is: will whoever plays Eric have to carry a tune in The Little Mermaid? The character didn't sing in the animated film, but Disney's interest in casting Styles suggests things might be different in the retelling. It's also been reported that Disney's longtime composer and songwriter Alan Menken (who shared an Oscar win with Howard Ashman for the animated Little Mermaid's tune "Under the Sea") is writing new music and lyrics with Marshall's Mary Poppins Returns star, Lin-Manuel Miranda. So who knows: Eric - be he played by Cuffe, Hauer-King, or someone else - may yet get a song to himself.
The Little Mermaid begins production in early 2020, but doesn't have an official release date yet.