The Hans Christian Anderson fairytale The Little Mermaid has warmed the hearts of children and adults throughout the generations. It tells the story of a mermaid who, wanting to experience the world up above the sea after she falls for a human prince, offers the malicious sea witch her voice in exchange for becoming human for a day so that she may attempt to win his heart and remain human as her prize.
Sofia Coppola has been in talks with Universal and Working Title and will now take on the challenge of directing a live action version of the tale. Most people are familiar with the infamous Disney animated adaptation from 1989, which was followed by two sequels, and some may be wary of how faithful a new version will be to the classic film, irregardless of the Danish fairytale being one which would have likely altered over generations before it was finally published by Anderson in 1837.
Coppola, well known for her spicy female dramas Marie Antoinette (2006, pictured below), The Virgin Suicides (1999) and The Bling Ring (2013) and films with significantly adult themes, will take on the challenge of finally directing the film which has been in gestation for a few years. Joe Wright, director of Atonement (2007) and more recently Anna Karenina (2012), was originally in talks to direct the film, but is otherwise busy working on Pan (2015), an updated adaptation of J.M. Barrie’s children’s story, Peter Pan, published in 1902.
Coppola’s adaptation will, I personally hope, keep in the original dark and melancholic but very Romantic ending in which the mermaid, unable to kill the prince and his bride to save her sisters, throws herself into the sea and bubbles away into the foam of the waves. It will in that instance remain in the pattern of Coppola’s previous films. Nevertheless, there is no doubt that Coppola will create a dynamic and enchanting film that will join the recent string of fairytale adaptations.