It’s been months since Disney announced that triple-threat Halle Bailey would be playing Ariel in the live-action remake of The Little Mermaid. Casting Prince Eric, on the other hand, proved to be a tougher task. But after months of searching and lots of hopeful speculation, Disney has finally found its leading man.
Jonah Hauer-King was informed on Tuesday that he nabbed the coveted role, Deadline reports. According to the site, Hauer-King tested back in September, and his biggest competition was Krypton star Cameron Cuffe. Jonah’s casting comes on the heels of rumours that Harry Styles was considering playing the mermaid’s human love interest, but those dreams were dashed when the former One Direction member passed on the role. Actor, comedian and former Broadway dude Billy Eichner also said that he was ready to take on Eric—and proved he has what it takes in The Lion King and on The Late Late Show with James Corden—but Hauer-King’s audition sealed the deal.
Hauer-King hails from London and his acting credits include the 2017 Little Women miniseries, the BBC drama World on Fire, 2019 tearjerker A Dog’s Way Home and Crave Original Song of Names that had a gala screening at TIFF this September. The 24-year-old will next appear in the upcoming movie Once Upon a Time in Staten Island, which stars Naomi Watts and Bobby Cannavale.
But now the million-dollar question: Does Jonah have the pipes to keep up with professional singer Bailey, and do justice to the classic soundtrack, plus new music from Alan Menkin and Lin-Manuel Miranda? This video of Hauer-King playing guitar and singing “Hallelujah” answers that question, and yaaas, the boy can sing!
Bailey and Hauer-King will be joined by Melissa McCarthy as Ursula, Jacob Tremblay as Flounder and Awkwafina as Scuttle. And it appears that Javier Bardem may be in talks for the role of Ariel’s father, King Triton.
The reboot follows other Disney remakes Aladdin, The Lion King, Dumbo, Beauty and the Beast and The Jungle Book, and Mulan and Cruella are also still coming down the pipe.
The Little Mermaid, which will be directed by Rob Marshall (Mary Poppins Returns, Into the Woods) doesn’t have a release date, but production is rumoured to begin in April 2020. If all goes well, we could see it hit theatres in 2021. Welcome aboard, Jonah!
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