Melissa McCarthy is in talks to play Ursula the Sea Witch in Disney’s live-action remake of the animated classic “The Little Mermaid,” Variety is reporting. Though the deal is not complete and still in the early stages, the Oscar nominee would certainly bring her signature verve and bite to the most iconic villainess in all of Disney lore. The live-action film is still in pre-production, but Disney has “Mary Poppins Returns” director Rob Marshall on board, as well as Lin Manuel Miranda lined up to pen some brand new songs.
The “Hamilton” creator is producing the film along with Marshall, Marc Platt and John DeLuca. David Magee wrote the script, with Jessica Virtue and Allison Erlikhman overseeing for the studio.
According to Variety, the team is looking to make “contemporary and compelling casting choices, while still paying homage to the beloved animated original.”
Loosely based on a Hans Christian Anderson fairy tale, the 1989 animated classic follows a red-headed mermaid princess who longs to be where the people are. She falls in love with a human Prince Eric, and makes a deal with Ursula to give up her voice in exchange for a pair of legs. She has her her looks, her pretty face, and of course one can’t underestimate the importance of… BODY LANGUAGE.
Alan Menken wrote the original music, including the Oscar-winning tunes “Under the Sea,” “Part of Your World” and “Kiss the Girl,” with the late Howard Ashman contributing the lyrics. McCarthy, if she signs on, would get a crack at the powerful comedic number “Poor Unfortunate Souls.” The role of Ursula was originated by legendary character actress Pat Carroll, who actually made an uncredited cameo in McCarthy’s 2011 breakout vehicle “Bridesmaids.”
Disney is prepping for the summer release of its hotly anticipated live-action remake of another classic, “The Lion King.” Directed by Jon Favreau, the film stars Seth Rogen, Donald Glover, James Earl Jones, Beyonce Knowles-Carter, Billy Eichner, Keegan Michael Key and many more.
“The Little Mermaid” would be a return to more family friendly fare for McCarthy, who began her career in television as the tirelessly optimistic Sookie St. James on Amy Sherman Palladino’s “Gilmore Girls.” Since “Bridesmaids,” McCarthy has favored bluer fare, such as the broad comedies like “Spy” and “The Heat.” Last year, she earned her second Oscar nomination for her work in “Can You Ever Forgive Me?”