As we near The Little Mermaid, many fans are awaiting what director Rob Marshall does with Halle Bailey’s Ariel. But a large group of people are hoping for a complete revamp of Prince Eric – the love interest from the 1989 animated original.
For decades, Eric has been mocked for his bland personality and has little to offer than a man to center Ariel’s story around. Now, as Marshall leads the story into a new generation, changing up Eric is just as important as perfecting Ariel.
Speaking to Entertainment Weekly, Marshall opens up about handling the male lead this time around.
“The role of Eric in the animated film – I’m sure the original creators would agree with this – it’s a wooden, classic prince character with not a lot going on,” says Marshall. The director adds that the original Eric leaves a lot to be desired and looks at his new film as a way to give him a more substantial backstory.
“There’s a whole story that’s developed in our film. He has a mother, a queen, that’s new to the film. He has a very similar trajectory in a way to Ariel. He doesn’t feel like it’s where he fits in, his world. These two kindred spirits find each other and really teach the world about prejudice and about breaking down barriers and walls between these two worlds.”
Jonah Hauer-King takes on the role of Prince Eric, Ariel’s love interest and the film’s leading man. He’s best known for playing Laurie in the 2017 BBC version of Little Women and most recently appeared in James DeMonaco’s This Is the Night.
We’ve yet to have our first official look at Jonah Hauer-King’s Eric.
The Little Mermaid is being directed by Rob Marshall (Mary Poppins Returns) from a script by David Magee (Finding Neverland) and will star Halle Bailey (Grown-ish) as Ariel, Jonah Hauer-King (Little Women) as Prince Eric, Melissa McCarthy (Can You Ever Forgive Me?) as Ursula, Awkwafina (Crazy Rich Asians) as Scuttle, Jacob Tremblay (The Predator) as Flounder, Daveed Diggs (Blindspotting) as Sebastian and Javier Bardem (Everybody Knows) as King Triton.
The Little Mermaid is set for release on May 26th, 2023.