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Now that it’s official that Disney is moving full steam ahead on a live action remake of 1989’s The Little Mermaid, the movie that kicked off the Disney Renaissance, casting news has been coming in on the high tide. The latest update is that Javier Bardem is being looked at to play Ariel’s father, the mighty King Triton.

Javier Bardem is reportedly in talks to join The Little Mermaid right now. Should a deal be reached, he would join a cast that includes Halle Bailey as Ariel, Jacob Tremblay as Flounder and Awkwafina as Scuttle. Melissa McCarthy is also being looked at to play the main villain, Ursula, while Harry Styles is now in negotiations to play Prince Eric.

One intriguing piece of information include in The Disinsider’s casting report (which has been confirmed by Deadline) is that The Little Mermaid remake will focus more on Ariel’s relationship with her mother, who didn’t even appear in the original movie. Disney is in the process of casting that role as well, but that begs the question of if King Triton’s role will be just important in this adaptation as it was in the original, or if the inclusion of Ariel’s mother means he’ll have reduced screen time.

Assuming that Javier Bardem does sign on to The Little Mermaid, this will be his second time working on a Disney movie, having previously played Armando Salazar in 2017’s Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales. Bardem also recently appeared in the Darren Aronofsky film mother!, and he’s attached to play Stilgar in Denis Villeneuve’s Dune.

In the animated version of The Little Mermaid, King Triton (voiced by Kenneth Mars), ruler of Atlantica, is prejudiced towards humans and forbids Ariel from interacting with the surface world. After Ariel gives Ursula her voice in exchange for becoming a human, Triton took his daughter’s place in exchange for Ursual obtaining his incredible power. After Eric killed Ursula, Triton reverted to his normal self and transformed Ariel back into a human upon realizing she truly loved Eric.

Judging by the information so far, The Little Mermaid looks to be following in the footsteps of Beauty and the Beast and Aladdin by being a relatively straightforward remake taking some creative liberties, as opposed to going the Mulan route and drastically overhauling the source material. Still, it’ll be interesting to see how Javier Bardem’s Triton (if he does indeed score the role) compares to his animated predecessor.

Directed by Rob Marshall, The Little Mermaid doesn’t have an assigned release date yet, but it’s expected to begin production at the beginning of 2020. Stay tuned to CinemaBlend for updates on its development, including where it will be placed on the calendar. In the meantime, plan your trips to the theater for the rest of the year by looking through our 2019 release schedule.

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