When Disney first started casting their live-action version of The Little Mermaid, they broke the hearts of racists and Lindsay Lohan by casting Halle Bailey as Ariel. Disney’s cartoon Ariel is a blue-eyed white girl with bright red hair, and Halle isn’t. Clearly they didn’t have the same strategy when choosing a Prince Eric. My guess is someone at Disney called in Cinderella’s Fairy Godmother, pointed to an 11-inch Prince Eric doll, and said, “So how much magic wand power would it take to make that thing life-size?”
Several media outlets are reporting today that the role of Prince Eric is going to Jonah Hauer-King. I wonder how many “A King will play the Prince” headlines there are out there? Eh, that’s not important right now. But I will admit that Harry Styles would have been a better match in the eye department. Harry didn’t want anything to do with the live-action Little Mermaid, so now we’ve got Jonah Hauer-King.
Little Mermaid live-action movie casts Prince Eric: Jonah Hauer-King nabs coveted role https://t.co/vaYVCS5ZZW
— Entertainment Weekly (@EW) November 13, 2019
Prince Eric was voiced in the animated film by Christopher Daniel Barnes, aka Greg Brady from The Brady Bunch Movie (which is a fact I literally learned last night while looking up Brady Bunch trivia after watching A Very Brady Renovation).
Deadline says that Jonah was in the running back in September, and that it reportedly came down to him or British actor Cameron Cuffe. Jonah is a British-American actor, he’s 24 years old, and he’s most well-known for starring in the film A Dog’s Way Home, and playing Laurie in the BBC miniseries version of Little Women. Deadline also says Melissa McCarthy has been cast as Ursula, but that’s never really been confirmed. There’s also been talks of Awkwafina as Scuttle, Jacob Tremblay as Flounder, Daveed Diggs as Sebastian, and Javier Bardem as King Triton. Again, no one has been 100% confirmed except for Ariel and Prince Eric.
How Jonah landed the part was pretty simple. Deadline says he read for the role at London’s Pinewood studios in September, and they liked him best. But I can’t help but wonder what else he had to do in his audition? If I were running that casting session, the most important acting test I’d administer would be to wheel in a cardboard cutout of the boner-popping priest, and ask him to see how long he can look straight ahead without his eyes glancing at the crotch area and triggering a case of the giggles.