Here’s welcome news you’ve all been waiting for: a live action adaptation of the Little Mermaid is in the works. The script is by Abi Morgan (Brick Lane) and director Joe Wright is partnered with Working Title (who also brought us Wright’s Atonement and Pride and Prejudice). This is no Alice In Wonderland, Sleeping Beauty or Cinderella (just to name a few of the fairy tales in development or production). It’s the original Hans Christian Anderson Little Mermaid – which is more darkly beautiful adult horror story than children’s sing-a-long (a stage play adaptation at Little Angel Theatre Company, founded by Wright’s father, was part of the inspiration). Wright may prove the right man to channel the spirit of Anderson’s Little Mermaid without the happily-ever-after Disney ending that skews the story’s legacy.
Who should play the lead role? Mermaids of the past include Splash‘s Darryl Hannah and Aquamarine‘s Emma Roberts.
Here’s an excerpt from the final chapter of Hans Christian Anderson’s 1836 original:
The little Sea-maid thought of the first time when she had risen up out of the sea, and beheld a similar scene of splendor and joy; and she joined in the whirling dance, and flitted on as the swallow flits away when he is pursued; and all shouted and admired her, for she had danced so prettily. Her delicate feet were cut as if with knives, but she did not feel it, for her heart was wounded far more painfully. She knew this was the last evening on which she should see him for whom she had left her friends and her home, and had given up her beautiful voice, and had suffered unheard-of pains every day, while he was utterly unconscious of all. It was the last evening she should breathe the same air with him, and behold the starry sky and the deep sea; and everlasting night without thought or dream awaited her, for she had no soul, and could win none. And everything was merriment and gladness on the ship till past midnight, and she laughed and danced with thoughts of death in her heart.