After a rollercoaster of a day, it appears Harry Styles isn't playing Prince Eric after all. A new report from The Wrap suggests Styles has "respectfully declined" the role, despite reports from earlier in the day that suggested the former One Direction star would be appearing as the classic love interest. Though Styles is reportedly a fan of the property, the budding movie star passed for other opportunities — it's unclear who'll assume the role.
For now, the cast of The Little Mermaid includes Halle Bailey, Awkwafina, Jacob Tremblay, and Javier Bardem. Melissa McCarthy had reportedly been cast as the villainous Ursula in the Rob Marshall film. Twitter exploded with controversy after Bailey was first cast, though Jodi Benson — the voice behind Ariel in the original film — has since gone on record completely supporting the casting.
"I think that the spirit of a character is what really matters." Benson said during a 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. And the outside package — cause let's face it, I'm really, really old — and so when I'm singing 'Part of Your World,' if you were to judge me on the way that I look on the outside, it might change the way that you interpret the song. But if you close your eyes, you can still hear the spirit of Ariel."
"We need to be storytellers." Benson continued. "And 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. And that's what we want to do, we want to make a connection to the audience. 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."
The film has yet to get a release date.
Who do you think should play Prince Eric? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below!