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Disney Wants Rob Marshall to Direct ‘The Little Mermaid’ Live-Action Remake

ABC Little Mermaid Live Canceled

And in today’s least shocking news item, Disney wants a white dude to direct an upcoming live-action remake of a classic animated movie. The studio has reportedly made Rob Marshall their top pick to helm The Little Mermaid, based on their 1989 animated adaptation of the Hans Christian Andersen tale. Marshall, who previously directed Into the Woods and the forthcoming Mary Poppins Returns for the studio, is said to be taking the holidays to mull it over.

According to Deadline, Marshall is Disney’s number one choice to direct The Little Mermaid, one of many live-action remakes in the works at the studio. Lin-Manuel Miranda is collaborating with original songwriter and composer Alan Menken on music for the project, which will include updates of existing songs along with a couple of new additions to the soundtrack. Miranda, who also stars in Marshall’s Mary Poppins sequel opposite Emily Blunt, will co-produce The Little Mermaid for Disney.

Marshall has yet to disappoint the studio, having directed the film adaptation of the classic musical Into the Woods, as well as Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides, which grossed a billion dollars worldwide. He also directed Mary Poppins Returns, the new sequel which hits theaters next Christmas. Marshall has the cinematic and musical bonafides, but Disney’s interest is hardly shocking: He is, after all, a white man.

Of the 14 live-action remakes the studio currently has in development, only one is being directed by a woman. Mulan, which is currently seeking Chinese actors for its cast, will be directed by Niki Caro. Seven of the films have women credited as screenwriters, including Marti Noxon on the Tinker Bell movie Tink, and the trio of Amanda Silver, Lauren Hynek and Elizabeth Martin on Mulan. Of the 14 films, five are without a director.

It’s a little disappointing to see the studio gunning for a man, regardless of his proven success rate, to helm a live-action remake of a story about a young woman (mermaid or no). Maybe someday Disney will allow women to be a bigger part of their world.

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