Disney has been developing a live-action The Little Mermaid since 2016, and while rehearsals had already begun last year, filming was delayed due to COVID-19. In an interview with El Tiempo, Javier Bardem, who is playing King Triton, has said that the production has finally started filming.
In the interview, Javier Bardem states that the new protocols are “exhaustive,” and that they are taking tests every day. But despite there being a large amount of people on set, Barden says “honestly I feel safe.” Bardem also says that “there’s nothing more than being on the hotel, then go to work.” With the NBA bubble at Disney World, Disney proved that they can control productions during coronavirus, and it looks like they may have a similar plan in place when it comes to filming The Little Mermaid.
Javier Bardem’s The Little Mermaid is being directed by Rob Marshall, who previously directed 2002’s Chicago, 2005’s Memoirs of a Geisha, and 2009’s Nine. But over the last decade, Marshall has been an integral part of Disney’s live-action side, having made 2011’s Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides, 2014’s Into the Woods, and most recently, 2018’s Mary Poppins Returns. The Little Mermaid will also include new songs co-written by Lin-Manuel Miranda and the film’s original composer/co-songwriter, Alan Menken, who is returning to compose the film’s score.
In addition to Javier Bardem playing King Triton, Halle Bailey of the duo Chloe x Halle will be playing Ariel, Jonah Hauer-King is taking on the role of Eric, and Melissa McCarthy will play Ursula. As for voice roles, Hamilton’s Daveed Diggs will voice Sebastian, Room’s Jacob Tremblay is Flounder, and recent Disney favorite Awkwafina will be playing Scuttle. Also in the cast are Noma Dumezweni, who played Hermione Granger in the original run of Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, and Emily Coates have signed on for undisclosed roles.
Beyond The Little Mermaid, Javier Bardem has several other high-profile projects on the way. Bardem will next appear in Dune, which is currently scheduled for an October 1, 2021 release date. Bardem has also signed on to play Desi Arnaz in Aaron Sorkin’s Being the Ricardos, alongside Nicole Kidman, who will play Lucille Ball.
But Javier Bardem and Halley Bailey’s The Little Mermaid is just one of many live-action remakes Disney has currently in the works. Filming has already completed for Cruella, a live-action film starring the One Hundred and One Dalmatians villain, played by Emma Stone. Beyond these, Disney has plans for at least a dozen other live-action remakes or sequels, including a Jungle Book sequel from Jon Favreau, a Lion King sequel from Moonlight director Barry Jenkins, a new retelling of Pinocchio by Robert Zemeckis, and plenty others.
After years of trying to get off the ground, it sounds as though The Little Mermaid is finally on track and filming in a safe environment, according to Javier Bardem. While it’s not clear when The Little Mermaid will come out, it seems likely that we could see the film as early as 2022.