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Sofia Coppola's "Little Mermaid" Can You Imagine It?

I'm going to have months of fun fantasizing about what this film will be like. According to Variety, Sofia Coppola is in talks to helm a new version of "The Little Mermaid", the flexible originally quite gloomy Hans Christian Anderson tale of a mermaid who gave up her life for the love of a human. The project, which once belonged to Joe Wright who is now working on a different sort of tale with fairies, called Pan (but we've discussed that enough recently), was aiming to mantain the original unhappy ending.

Though it's easy to giggle trying to juxtapose Sofia Coppola's high end lost rich girl aesthetic onto the familiar tale -- check out this tweet for a good LOL -- once you stop to consider even for a minute it's not that large a stretch.

Coppola does like to dramatize the hazy inchoate longings of fish out of water girls, whether that's Scarlett Johansson wandering lux hotels and karaoke bars in Tokyo or Marie Antoinette suddenly abandoned by her family for life in a new country as their queen. The other films don't readily connect as easily but since those are her two best and both are less directly tied to privileged Hollywood types, it might be a really great idea to shake up Coppola's increasingly Californian filmography.

What was your first reaction. And your second?

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Reader Comments (21)

This could be amazing.

March 18, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterSad man

First reaction: well...this is unexpected.

Second: hmmm...could work (for all of the reasons you mentioned) if they're keeping in line with the original story. I can't imagine they're going small with this so they probably want something with broader appeal aka a happy ending like the Disney movie. I was really excited to see what Joe Wright would do with the story, but it'll certainly be interesting to see Sofia tackle something on a much larger scale.

March 18, 2014 | Unregistered Commenterthefilmjunkie

I was definitely intrigued. Wanna see her do something different. I didn't really care for the bling ring and she has gotten to repetetive and predictable recently. But I have to admit I wanna see this. But my question is whether her voice will be too apparent and remove any substance from the film but it could do the opposite too. It could be too stylistic like her father's version of Dracula, but I kinda love that movie but it definitely is so overdone.

March 18, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterJosh

This sounds perfect for her. But it could be really boring, like a lot of her films tend to be.

March 18, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterPhilip H.

I'm definitely intrigued. Whenever a director like this takes a project that doesn't necessarily look as if it would suit their aesthetic I get a bit excited. Especially since so many have seemingly given up on Coppola, bringing her style to something a little less insular might be what she needs.

Curiously, the film - or, the PART of a film - I keep imagining are the Melies recreations from HUGO. You know the ones with the fireworks mermaid lady and ornate sets and costumes?

March 18, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterGlenn

Josh - Coppola's Dracula was intended to be more avant-garde. Costumes as production design with minimal sets and lighting.

It would be exciting if Nyong'o were cast as the mermaid. Not for the sake of progressive multiculturalism. But to see her continue on as an auteur muse. Where Hollywood business practices would be an irrelevancy. And we could enjoy her in quality films we'd see whether she was in them or not.

March 18, 2014 | Unregistered Commenter3rtful

1 Reaction: Yeah! One of my favorite director is back to work.
2 Reaction: Well that's unexpected, but I'll follow her anywhere so Im in!

March 18, 2014 | Unregistered Commenterstjeans

All these new films based on fairy tales - thinking of Cinderella or Maleficent - tend to worry me (first reaction) but Sofia is so good she can do it and make it beautiful (second reaction).

March 18, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterValentina

I'll be interested to see who she casts, but I don't know... is this supposed to be big budget? I hope it's not -- I think will be more interesting if it's in the mid-range so she can put her own spin on it.

March 18, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterBia

1st reaction:
Mo'nique as Ursula! (as you previously suggested)

2nd reaction:
Wait, was Ursula in the orginal tale?

March 18, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterAriel

This could be...amazing.

March 18, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterJohn

Meh. I rather see an original story. Do they even exist anymore? Why doesn't she write one with her brother?

March 18, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterPam

I honestly need this right now. Like, this could be amazing.

But, part of me really wishes that Jane Campion would tell this particular tale.

March 18, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterAndrew

This can be exactly that The Planet of The Apes was to Tim Burton, the moment whan when an auteur becomes only a label.

March 18, 2014 | Unregistered Commentercal roth

I feel like for a director who's made like, six features in 15 years, Sofia Coppola works too much. That's all I'll say because I do like a couple of her movies.

March 18, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterHayden W

Lots of Sofia hate on the internet today, eesh. I practically hyperventilated when I heard about this. Bring it to me!

March 18, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterTB

I could do without this avalanche of reimagining/retelling/revision of fairy tales that's been unleashed upon us, but, as far as these projects go, having Sofia Coppola at the helm gives me some glimpse of optimism about the the final product.

I am actually a little bit torn, because I wish her success, but, at the same time, I think if she truly delivers, it might strenghen a trend I'm already bored of, and then Hollywood will keep churning them out to the point of our getting the retelling of Frozen by 2018.

March 18, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterCarmen Sandiego

I looove these news

March 18, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterConrado

First reaction was total surprise, second was excitement. This has the potential to be pretty amazing, especially if they do stick to the original ending.

My third reaction was to dreamcast Lupita Nyong'o as the little mermaid.

March 19, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterAnna

It's totally gonna be Elle Fanning, I can feel it. Even with Maleficent, I can't imagine her picking someone else as aesthetically perfect for this. Kiki? ScarJo? Dakota?

Andrew above mentioned he wished Jane Campion was doing this instead. I audibly gasped when I read that OMG YES.

Hopefully she can tempt Lance Acord back behind the lens, he's been working so infrequently lately. And K.K. Barrett for round 3 maybe?

March 19, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterMark The First

I am happy that Joe Wright dropped the project, because I think Sofia Coppola can bring a powerful dramatic dimension to this story. I agree with you, the Little Mermaid has a lot of things in common with the characters in the previous Sofia Coppola’s movies, so it’s well sought to give her the project. I can’t wait to discover, thanks to her direction style, a new side of the Little Mermaid’s personality, deeper and darker than the one of the Disney film!

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