Disney's Live Action Little Mermaid May Have Found Its Ursula

The Little Mermaid may have just cast its first live-action star.
Image: Disney

With Dumbo, Aladdin, and The Lion King all being released this year, you might think Disney would slow down with its modern remakes of classic animated films. You’d be wrong. The Little Mermaid, which has long been rumored, is reportedly started to speed up—and none other than Melissa McCarthy may be playing Ursula.

Variety reports the Bridesmaids/Gilmore Girls/Ghostbusters multi-Oscar nominee is “in early talks” to play the villain in the film, which is being directed by Rob Marshall (Chicago, Mary Poppins Returns) and co-produced by Lin-Manuel Miranda, who’ll reportedly help Alan Menken with new songs to compliment the originals.

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According to the piece, “Disney and the production team behind it are looking to make contemporary and compelling casting choices, while still paying homage to the beloved animated original.” Which sounds great, but casting McCarthy, inspired as it may be, feels very much on the nose. It’ll be interesting to see if that contemporary feel is easily recognizable with any upcoming casting, or if comes more with the adaptation of the story.

The Little Mermaid is widely regarded as the film that brought Disney Animation back to full glory and led the way to a period of incredible critical and financial success. It’s a beyond beloved film that, much like the other remakes on the way, will have a lot to live up to.

The live-action Little Mermaid does not yet have a release date.


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Germain Lussier

Entertainment Reporter for io9/Gizmodo