‘The Little Mermaid’ Director Explains Why Harry Styles Declined Prince Eric Role

The director of The Little Mermaid told why Harry Styles didn’t want to play Prince Eric in the new Disney movie.

In the new digital cover story for Entertainment Weekly about the most-anticipated live-action remake of the animated musical from 1989, “The Little Mermaid,” director Rob Marshall confirmed that he first asked Styles to play Eric.

But Styles “really felt like he wanted to go off and do the movies that he ended up doing, which were sort of darker,” said Marshall, referring to the singer’s R-rated 2022 movies Don’t Worry Darling and My Policeman.

The Grammy-winning singer, who is 29, also had a cameo in the Marvel movie Eternals, which came out in 2021.

Marshall also said that Jonah Hauer-King, who plays Prince Eric in The Little Mermaid opposite Halle Bailey’s Ariel, had the right “sweetness” and “deep passion” for the part.

Styles also said that he turned down the role of the Little Mermaid. He told The Face magazine in 2019 that a possible role for him “was talked about” but never happened.

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

Lin-Manuel Miranda wrote three new songs for the new Little Mermaid. One of them, called “Wild Uncharted Waters,” is for Prince Eric.