Live-action fairy tales are hot properties in Hollywood. From a studio’s perspective, they’ve got it all: name recognition, cross-generational appeal, lots of opportunities for big special effects, and—best of all—public domain (read: free) source material. In recent years we’ve already seen two Snow White movies, Jack The Giant Slayer, and Beastly (a YA-friendly version of Beauty And The Beast); upcoming projects include Disney’s Maleficent, based on Sleeping Beauty, and a new Peter Pan directed by Joe Wright. Before Wright got his hands on Pan, he was considering a live-action Little Mermaid film; with Wright committed elsewhere, Universal is now looking to give the material to Sofia Coppola. Deadline reports the Bling Ring director is “in negotiations” to take over the film.
Deadline calls the move a “departure” for Coppola “in that her projects are usually focused on adult themes.” That’s true enough, although many of her movies feature young female protagonists. Thinking back to Disney’s famous animated Little Mermaid, I couldn’t help but recall the movie’s signature song, “Part Of Your World,” which begins with the lines “Look at this stuff / Isn’t it neat? / Wouldn’t you think my collection’s complete? / Wouldn’t you think I’m the girl /The girl who has everything?” From Marie Antoinette to The Bling Ring, that’s practically Coppola’s entire oeuvre summed up in 24 words. So I think the subject’s perfect for a Sofia Coppola movie.
Previous drafts of the Little Mermaid screenplay were written by Fifty Shades Of Grey’s Kelly Marcel and Shame’s Abi Morgan, which sounds like a seriously disturbing (and kind of interesting) take on the material. But Coppola’s film will instead be based on a revised draft by Edward Scissorhands and The Nightmare Before Christmas writer Caroline Thompson. Deadline says the filmmakers hope to move into production “quickly.”