Eric is the human prince who catches Ariel's eye. The mermaid saves the prince from drowning and then makes a deal with the sea witch Ursula to exchange her voice for legs in order for a chance to make him love her. He is key in the final battle against Ursula.
The casting of Styles and Bailey show the studio’s intent of making the music a central component of the remake. Interestingly, the character of Eric performed no songs in the 1989 original. However, that was remedied in the 2000s’ Broadway musical, with Eric now performing several, including two solos.
Styles was famously a member of boy band One Direction who then struck out on a successful solo career. He made his acting debut with Dunkirk, Christopher Nolan’s World War II drama that grossed over $526 million worldwide and collected several Oscars.
The budding actor had been looking for a new project to take on and even tested for the lead in Baz Luhrmann’s Elvis biopic. That part went to Austin Butler earlier this week.
The animated 1989 original won best original song and score Oscars for Alan Menken. For the new iteration of the fairy tale, Alan Menken will update his score, and will compose a new song with lyrics from Lin-Manuel Miranda.
An early 2020 production start is being planned.
Marc Platt, who worked with Marshall on Disney’s Mary Poppins Returns and exec produced the studio’s live-action Aladdin remake, is producing. Marshall and John DeLuca are also producers Mermaid, as is Miranda.