Harry Styles cosplaying as The Little Mermaid for his appearance on Saturday Night Live are going viral on the Internet today. Styles did the photoshoot for SNL in 2019, but fans are now getting to see the gallery of images thanks to social media posts. There does seem to be a bit of confusion, however, as fan reactions have sparked the (idea? Joke?) that Harry Styles should play Ariel in the upcoming Little Mermaid live-action remake that Disney is doing. THIS IS NOT THE CASE. Despite what the tweet below says, Harry Styles was not doing any screen testing for the Little Mermaid role.
Sources say that Harry Styles will be playing the role of Ariel in the upcoming Disney movie “The little Mermaid” pic.twitter.com/s8bCQ5Kivg— Alex ༄ ⋆.•. (@fairytailhrry) April 16, 2021
Ironically, the same year that Harry Styles took these Little Mermaid promo photos for SNL he also turned down an actual role in Disney's live-action The Little Mermaid film. Styles was up for the role of Prince Eric, the man who first discovers (and eventually falls in love) with Ariel after her wish to become human is granted. The thought of Harry Styles becoming a Disney Prince had fans swooning, but the singer wasn't about it.
“It was discussed,” Styles told The Face in 2019. “I want to put music out and focus on that for a while. But everyone involved in it was amazing, so I think it’s going to be great. I’ll enjoy watching it, I’m sure.”
The Little Mermaid has courted a bit of "controversy" for its approach to casting. Halle Bailey (a young black actress) has been cast as Ariel in the film, which has led to usual (and tired) racial debates on social media. Regardless, the voice of Ariel in the Disney animated film, Jodi Benson, was one of the first to speak up saying something different for the modern age is definitely permissible:
“I think that the spirit of a character is what really matters," Benson said during a 2019 convention appearance earlier this year. "What you bring to the table in a character as far as their heart, and their spirit, is what really counts... No matter what we look like on the outside, no matter our race, our nation, the color of our skin, our dialect, whether I’m tall or thin, whether I’m overweight or underweight, or my hair is whatever color, we really need to tell the story... So I know for Disney that they have the heart of storytelling, that’s really what they’re trying to do. They want to communicate with all of us in the audience so that we can fall in love with the film again."
Rob Marshall's live-action The Little Mermaid is waiting to start production.