here are our fave actor picks to play eric in ‘the little mermaid’
Harry Styles included, obvs.
Barely a week has passed since the last time the internet collectively lost their shit over The Little Mermaid. After months, if not years of swirling rumours, the remake of Disney’s iconic 1989 classic was formally announced, with Chicago director Rob Marshall at the helm rather than the previously suspected Sofia Coppola.
Taking over the titular role? 19-year-old R&B queen Halle Bailey, who cut her teeth on-screen in the video for Beyoncé’s All Night (major), and has since stole our hearts with a supporting role in Grown-ish. Well deserved; we’re sure she’s gonna smash it as Ariel.
But now that music-to-movie crossover hearsay is spiralling, and the internet has treated the rumour of a certain One Direction graduate slipping into the shoes of Prince Eric as bible. Yep, that’s right: king Harry Styles is apparently top of Disney’s hit list. Should he sign on, we can fully expect the world to collectively swoon over the heartthrob when the film swings into cinemas sometime in the next two-to-three years.
At this rate, everybody seems so hellbent on Styles become Ariel’s new beau that all other options might seem reductive -- but you’re wrong! At this point, there’s a wealth of beautiful people capable of playing Disney’s dark-haired, open-shirted and dangerously sharp-jawed Lover Boy. Here are all of the stars we’re rooting for.
The former 1Der made quite a splash with his rockstar reinvention, transforming him from a handsome young man with a predominantly teen fanbase into a bonafide sex symbol that everybody and their mum now goes weak at the knees for. He’s a natural first choice: great hair, effortlessly charming, a proven strong singer -- and the style! There are very few men who can go out on stage donning a billowing open shirt down to the navel or a pair of high waisted flares in 2019. Styles dresses like a sexed-up sailor for work already. Our only stipulation: if Harry signs on the dotted line, we want to see some madhatter costuming from Charles Jeffrey, Harris Reed or Queen Viv too.
Is there any greater flex than being the world’s first -- and, so far, only -- trans and deaf superhero? That’s a title only Chella Man holds, since the genderqueer actor and artist was cast in the second season of DC Universe series Titans, about a team of young comic-book crimefighters. In his spare time, he makes art with his girlfriend, photographer Mary Benoit, and is an active fighter for the LGBTQ+ and deaf communities both in his home city of New York and around the world. Doesn’t a strikingly handsome and altruistic Prince Eric sound like the perfect antidote to the beefed-up bro everybody swooned over the first time? Chella is the perfect person to fulfil that role, and help combat the poisonous power dynamic that exists within those age-old fairy tales. Disney, if you don’t make that call you’ll regret it.
Jimin from BTS
Another option the internet has gone batshit crazy for is BTS fan favourite, Jimin. Famed for his practically pearlescent skin and boisterous stage presence, the 23-year-old Busan superstar is more than familiar with the concept of mass hysteria: K-Pop and Disney are pretty much the two pillars of popular culture in 2019. He also possesses that cosmic ability to make people swoon with a swift glance, which is built into the DNA of Prince Eric too. So we know he can sing, look blindingly beautiful and cause mass hysteria with his presence -- is there a downfall? Well, BTS are notorious for being able to churn out bops at a rapid rate, so he might be tied down with music. There’s also the chance that his acting chops aren’t up to scratch; this would be a meaty, high-profile role for someone’s acting debut. Still, K-Pop and Disney colliding? We’d love to see it.
Another name on everybody’s lips is a TV actor famed for playing with the hearts of patients rather than mythical mermaids. Half Korean-half Italian star Alex Landi is fairly new in the game, having had his big break-out last year playing Dr Nico Kim, one of the few gay characters in hit medical series Gray’s Anatomy. Take one peep of his IG and you’ll understand why people are falling head over heels in love with him: the 26-year-old is the spitting image of a Disney prince. He’s at a nice spot in his career where a role like this could catapult him to international fame, and would be an inspired piece of casting, much like Disney’s choice of semi-anonymous star Mena Massoud for the titular role in Guy Ritchie’s Aladdin remake this year.
What kind of sickness would we have had to come down with to exclude Gen-Z prince and i-D cover star Timotheé Chalamet from this shortlist? The Oscar nominee put himself on the map with a story of seduction and fractured love, so he has a bit of history there, and though Call Me By Your Name had more peach-fucking than undersea musical arrangements with Jamaican crabs, you know Timmy would be willing to up the camp and melodrama on this one. But is he too scared of being taken seriously to sign on to a big-budget Disney remake at this point in his career? After all, his line-up of projects since the moment he broke out has been pretty much flawless -- and challenging roles to boot. Perhaps now, considering he possesses the double of Prince Eric’s statuesque face, he’d be willing to sit back and have a bit of fun with this.
Having proved himself to be a Very Good Actor™ after his appearances in buzzy dramas like Detroit and The Hate U Give, Algee Smith is fast becoming one of those Hollywood kids who knows how to play the game. Right now, he’s smashing it in Drake’s drug and sex-heavy TV series Euphoria, in which he plays a footballer called Chris, the one male character in the series who isn’t a total dickhead. With this nice guy image building (He told i-D that we should look in the mirror every day and say that we love ourselves: “You’re not crazy for doing it!”) perhaps he could be the sweetheart worthy of Ariel’s heart. Not only that, but he’s got rhythm: before the acting gig took off, he was a keen rapper. Now, wouldn’t it be sick to have both a hip-hop and an R&B star assuming the lead roles in one of the most talked about remakes of the decade?