Disney has finally cast Prince Eric for the studio’s upcoming The Little Mermaid live-action adaptation. Actor Jonah Hauer-King is going to be Ariel’s love interest and frankly, I’m ‘meh’ about such an uninspired casting choice.
When the House of Mouse cast actress Halle Bailey as Ariel, while (unfortunately) controversial, it seemed like the right way to go considering the influences in the animated film. Bailey’s casting immediately excited many in the fandom. Due to Disney being okay with casting Bailey as the lead, we could hope for Eric to be played by a person of color, too, right?
It looks like the studio was always adamant about casting someone British (the white-kind) in the role of the male lead.
Harry Styles backing away from the role, while disappointing for some, felt like the correct decision. I didn’t want Styles to be embroiled in a controversy involving the white-savior trope that we have seen countless times in Hollywood.
But it seems Disney had other plans. With Styles walking away, the studio tested British actors Cameron Cuffe (Krypton) and Jonah Hauer-King (queer film Postcards from London). Again, I don’t know why the studio wasn’t interested in casting someone Asian or even of African descent.
An Asian Prince Eric would have been amazing to see on the big screen.
Anyway, Hauer-King, apparently, is 24 years old. I do think he looks older, but that’s just my opinion. With Bailey currently being 19 (and looking younger than her age), I think the age gap is going to come across as weird during the film. But let’s see what happens.
Right now, I’m a bit iffy over the casting choices. If actress Melissa McCarthy is indeed going to play Ursula, that’s would mean a white woman stole a black girl’s voice and a white dude is going to be the only person capable of saving the black girl. It already sounds like a mess on paper. Maybe Disney will rework a lot of the narrative? Again, we’ll have to wait for quite a while to find out.
I do feel Disney dropped the ball on this one.
It’s not like it was impossible for the studio to find extremely talented actors of color to play Prince Eric. I think it all boils down to the House of Mouse always wanting a white British actor for the role, for whatever reason.
Feel free to share your thoughts with us.
Farid has a Double Masters in Psychology and Biotechnology as well as an M.Phil in Molecular Genetics. He is the author of numerous books including Missing in Somerville, and The Game Master of Somerville. He gives us insight into comics, books, TV shows, anime/manga, video games, and movies.
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