All appeared to be in place on Universal and Working Title’s live-action adaptation of The Little Mermaid earlier in the year, though six months ago, the feature entered some choppy waters when Sofia Coppola (The Virgin Suicides, Lost in Translation, Somewhere and The Bling Ring) exited the project just as it was beginning to take shape.
Now, Coppola has explained her reasoning behind the departure, and while the filmmaker dances around the specific reason, it seems safe to deduce that her vision was much more intimate and smaller in scale than what Universal had in mind. In fact, it’s understood that, prior to the casting of Chloë Grace Moretz in the title role as Ariel, Coppola had pushed to cast a relative unknown in the role, which lends credence to her proposed version of The Little Mermaid venturing off the beaten track.
Sadly, it’s unlikely we’ll ever get to see Coppola’s rendition of Ariel, Sebastian and Co. come to fruition, though the director did offer a statement to The Wrap about what happened behind the scenes.
“We didn’t agree creatively about how to do it, so I didn’t want to continue,” Coppola told TheWrap of the differences with that led to her departure. “As we were getting closer, it just wasn’t the right fit for what they needed for that project and the way I work. I decided to do something in a smaller scale, the way I like to work.”
Last we reported on The Little Mermaid, Richard Curtis had been in contention to provide a new draft of the script, working within a framework established by previous scribes such as Caroline Thompson (Edward Scissorhands), Kelly Marcel (Saving Mr. Banks) and Abi Morgan (Shame). Meanwhile, Tim Bevan and Eric Fellner will produce, while Liza Chasin and Amelia Granger are attached to executive produce.