Harry Styles was rumored to be in the new live-action 'The Little Mermaid' film.

Harry Styles Passed On A Little Mermaid Role For An Understandable Reason

He was almost Prince Eric.

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It’s been nearly four years since Halle Bailey was announced as Ariel in the live-action remake of The Little Mermaid. Since then, the cast for the underwater classic, which premieres on May 26, has grown. But not all the casting choices lined up with some fans’ wishes. At one point, Harry Styles was rumored to play Prince Eric; however, British actor Jonah Hauer-King eventually landed the role. The film’s director Rob Marshall never confirmed if the Harry rumors were true — until now.

In an April 4 interview with Entertainment Weekly, Marshall revealed he did meet with Styles about the role. However, the “Cinema” singer had other creative visions when it came to his acting career. “[Styles] was lovely. What a wonderful guy,” Marshall said. “But at the end of the day, he really felt like he wanted to go off and do the movies that he ended up doing, which were sort of darker.”

In 2022, Styles starred in two drama films: My Policeman and the Olivia Wilde-directed Don’t Worry Darling. Though the latter film was designed to be a looming, psychological thriller, bits like #SpitGate and the drama between Wilde and Florence Pugh seemed to overshadow the film’s awards season aspirations.

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Elsewhere in the interview, Marshall theorized that Styles probably didn’t want “to be seen as a singer” in films, but more so as a serious actor. “For a lot of young musical people like Harry, you’re trying to carve your way and you don’t wanna be seen as a singer, necessarily. That’s why he was really looking to do something not in the musical genre, to really stretch himself,” he said.

He added that though it would’ve been fun to work with the singer, he’s pleased with his final choices for Prince Eric and Ariel. Styles echoed a similar thought around the same time the Prince Eric casting rumors started in 2019. Speaking to The Face that year, Styles confirmed that though he was approached for the role, he wanted to focus on his music career.

“I want to put music out and focus on that for a while. But everyone involved in [the movie] was amazing, so I think it’s going to be great. I’ll enjoy watching it, I’m sure,” he said.