The ‘As It Was’ singer was initially approached to be cast as Prince Eric in the new remake of children’s classic starring singer Halle Bailey. However, the Grammy Award winner declined the position.
The director of The Little Mermaid, Rob Marshall, told Entertainment Weekly that he “met with” Styles and “he was lovely”.
“What a wonderful guy,” said Marshall. “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.”
“For a lot of young musical people like Harry, you’re trying to carve your way and you don’t want to be seen as a singer, necessarily,” Marshall added.
“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.”
In addition to Bailey, The Little Mermaid stars Jonah Hauer-King as Prince Eric, Melissa McCarthy as Ursula, Awkwafina as Scuttle, and David Diggs as Sebastian.
Styles was also considered to play Elvis Presley for Baz Luhrmann’s Oscar-nominated epic Elvis. However, Luhrmann revealed that while Styles was in the running for the part, he was hesitant to cast an international icon.
“I don’t imagine I’d do a movie for a while,” he said. “A large part of acting is the doing nothing, waiting thing. Which if that’s the worst part, then it’s a pretty good job. But I don’t find that section of it to be that fulfilling. I like doing it in the moment, but I don’t think I’ll do it a lot.”
In September, Disney released the official trailer for The Little Mermaid at their D23 expo that took place in California.
According to reports from the D23 Expo, the soundtrack for The Little Mermaid will also feature four new songs, which were worked on by Lin-Manuel Miranda and Alan Menken.
The Little Mermaid is set for release in cinemas on May 26.