Ariel and Eric, getting their happily-ever-after.
Image: Disney

The one direction Mr. Styles is headed in? Under the sea, apparently.

The Hollywood Reporter has word that pop-star-turned-actor Harry Styles—best known among legions of teenage fans as one of the former members of One Direction—has entered talks to join Disney and Rob Marshall’s remake of the beloved 1989 animated movie.

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Styles would be playing Prince Eric, the charming surface dweller that our heroic mermaid Ariel (who will be played by Halle Bailey) falls for when she saves him from drowning and gets a glimpse of the world beyond her father’s oceanic kingdom in the process.

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Given Styles’ former life as a pop star, at least, like Bailey herself, his singing chops can’t be put into doubt which is great for a role in one of the litany of live-action remakes of its animated musicals Disney has in the works—and his role in Christopher Nolan’s Dunkirk offers at least some evidence he’s got acting experience. No further details are known about Styles’ involvement in The Little Mermaid yet, which is set to purportedly enter production next year ahead of a speculated 2022 release.

We’ll bring you more on Disney’s plans for Atlantica—which so far include the ever-busy Lin-Manuel Miranda providing new music, Melissa McCarthy as Ursula, and Jacob Tremblay and Awkwafina as Flounder and Scuttle, respectively—as and when we learn them.

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Update: August 13, 8:35 p.m.: Variety is now reporting that Styles “has passed on” playing Prince Eric in The Little Mermaid, adding:

Sources say the initial reports about his casting were premature and that Styles made the decision to move on amicably. The studio has already begun looking at others for the part and, according to sources, a decision should come shortly.

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