Director Joe Wright (Atonement, The Soloist) has announced that he plans to develop a live-action feature of The Little Mermaid for Working Title films. Wright’s adaptation will be based on Hans Christian Anderson’s original fairy tale, not the popular Disney version with its wisecracking Jamaican crabs and all that. The director reportedly found inspiration in a recent children’s theatre production that featured puppets—a staging that was reportedly meant for kids “aged 5 and over.”
Given that, it’s unclear whether Wright’s version will include some of the more violent, depressing aspects of Anderson’s original tale, such as the suddenly amphibious Little Mermaid discovering that every step feels like walking on sharp swords and causes her feet to “bleed terribly,” or when she briefly considers slaying the prince who spurned her and dousing her legs in his blood in order to become fully human. Given our modern preoccupation with reviving all the gritty, despairing elements in our fairy tales, however, we certainly wouldn’t rule it out.