Universal Pictures and Working Title Films have been working on a live-action retelling of The Little Mermaid for quite some time now, with multiple directors and screenwriters having been attached to the project since it was initially announced in May 2011. For a little over two years, Sofia Coppola seemed to be the director who would finally bring the project to fruition before her departure, citing the ever-ubiquitous "creative differences" as reason for leaving the project.
Following the assembly line of talent to step down from the project over the course of the past four years, it had begun to appear of late as though Ariel would never grace the silver screen again. But fans can calm themselves, as Universal and Working Title have finally chosen a performer to headline their film who might just have enough clout to draw the interests of another potential director to sign on and finally stay the course.
According to Variety, Chloë Grace Moretz (Kick-Ass and Carrie) will take on the starring role in the latest feature film adaptation of the Hans Christian Andersen story, with screenwriter Richard Curtis (Love Actually) signed on to take another pass at the film's script. Working Title's Tim Bevan and Eric Fellner are currently slated to produce the new film, with Liza Chasin and Amelia Granger to executive-produce; executive VP of production Erik Baiers and creative executive Chloe Yellin will oversee the project for Universal.
Prior to Coppola's exit from the film, Moretz was the front-runner in the eyes of the two production studios, which was reportedly a source of unresolved tension held by the movie's former director. With the discontented party out of the way, Universal and Working Title were apparently freed up to pursue their first choice for lead actor, a goal they appear to have achieved in tandem with the additionally reported pre-requisite of signing a new screenwriter to the production.
Whether or not Moretz and Curtis will stick around long enough to see another director take the feature forward remains to be seen, though it would certainly not look good for the continued livelihood of this latest adaptation to lose any more key creative talents. It would have been intriguing to see where Coppola would have taken this latest cinematic retelling of an age-old children's story, but it's hard to find fault with the equally attractive desire to alternatively court the interests of a younger talent such as Moretz.
Screen Rant will keep you posted on all developments regarding The Little Mermaid.