The Little Mermaid director explains why Harry Styles wasn't cast as Prince Eric

Harry Styles in Don't Worry Darling
(Image credit: Warner Bros.)

Harry Styles was one of the fan-favorite choices for the role of Prince Eric in Disney's live-action remake of The Little Mermaid, and director Rob Marshall has now confirmed that he did meet with the singer and actor, and he's explained why it didn't work out. 

"We met with him. He was lovely. What a wonderful guy," Marshall told EW. "But at the end of the day, he really felt like he wanted to go off and do the movies that he ended up doing, which were sort of darker."

Marshall continued: "That's why he was really looking to do something not in the musical genre, to really stretch himself. It was really a fun idea to play with, but in the end, I always think things happen for a reason. I'm so happy to have two young, new people in the film."

Jonah Hauer-King was cast as Prince Eric instead, starring opposite Halle Bailey's Ariel. "The objective was trying to honor and respect the film that we loved 30 years ago, and bring everything that we fell in love with in the first place, while also trying to breathe some new life into it," Hauer-King said in a recent interview with Total Film. "I think that was true of Prince Eric. Trying to understand who he is, and trying to bring some four-dimensionality to him, was the challenge." 

The movie also stars Melissa McCarthy as Ursula the sea witch, Javier Bardem as Ariel's father King Triton, Jacob Tremblay as Flounder the fish, Daveed Diggs as Sebastian the crab, and Awkwafina as Scuttle the seabird. 

The Little Mermaid arrives on the big screen on May 26. In the meantime, check out our guide to the other most exciting upcoming movies on the way in 2023 and beyond. 

Entertainment Writer

I’m an Entertainment Writer here at GamesRadar+, covering everything film and TV-related across the Total Film and SFX sections. I help bring you all the latest news and also the occasional feature too. I’ve previously written for publications like HuffPost and i-D after getting my NCTJ Diploma in Multimedia Journalism.