Javier Bardem is currently in talks to play King Triton in Disney's upcoming live-action retelling of The Little Mermaid. The Mouse House seems pretty determined to keep on remaking its animated classics in live-action for as long as audiences remain interested. And judging by the box office returns for their re-imaginings of Cinderella, The Jungle Book, Beauty and the Beast, and most recently Aladdin (sorry Dumbo), there's little reason to expect that the studio will slow down its efforts anytime soon.
Among the Disney live-action remakes that are actively moving forward right now are The Little Mermaid, a new take on the company's Oscar winning 1989 animated fairy tale (not to mention, the feature that really kicked off the Disney Animation Renaissance of the 1990s). So far, they've cast Halle Bailey to play the Little Mermaid herself, Ariel, along with Melissa McCarthy as the villainous sea witch Ursula, Jacob Tremblay as the kind fish Flounder, and Awkwafina as the snarfblat specializing seagull Scuttle.
According to Deadline, the Oscar-winning Bardem is now in negotiations to play Ariel's father and the ruler under the sea, King Triton. The DisInsider actually reported this news earlier today, but was unable to confirm it at the time.
Bardem, of course, is far from a stranger to the Mouse House, having previously portrayed the villainous Captain Salazar in Disney's Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales. And while many fans had reasonably expected that Triton would be played by a black actor in the live-action Little Mermaid - with Terry Crews, Idris Elba, and Black Panther's Winston Duke among the popular choices - following Bailey's casting, it seems that director Rob Marshall (Chicago, Mary Poppins Returns) is open to filling just about any and every role with actors of a variety of races and nationalities. Hopefully, by the time he's done, the movie will have assembled a pretty inclusive ensemble overall.
With Harry Styles currently in talks to play Prince Eric, there shouldn't be too many other major roles to cast in The Little Mermaid at this point. Then again, it's possible that the script by David Magee (Mary Poppins Returns) and Jane Goldman (Kingsman) makes some significant changes to the plot of both the 1989 movie and the Hans Christian Andersen story that inspired it - including, the addition of brand-new characters. That would certainly come as welcome news, especially for those who've grown quite tired of Disney simply remaking their animated classics "shot by shot" in live-action (see also: the criticisms of the photorealistic CGI retelling of The Lion King, which arrives in theaters this week).
More on The Little Mermaid as it develops.