For a brief window of time, it looked like Harry Styles was heading under the sea.
In July, Styles was in early negotiations to play the role of Prince Eric in Disney’s live-action remake of The Little Mermaid, and on Tuesday rumours started spreading online that the Sign of the Times singer would play Prince Eric alongside a cast that includes Halle Bailey, Jacob Tremblay, Awkwafina and (reportedly) Melissa McCarthy.
American theatre chains AMC and Regal tweeted the news, saying his casting was “confirmed.” (Both tweets have since been deleted.)
Later Tuesday, industry publication The Wrap posted an article stating that Styles had turned down the role. Other publications in Hollywood quickly followed suit, confirming that the singer had in fact passed on Prince Eric.
Citing individuals familiar with the movie’s production, The Wraps’ post says “Styles is a fan of the project, but respectfully declined.”
Many Disney fans took to Twitter after news of the casting spread in July.
The film is directed by Rob Marshall and produced by Marshall, John DeLuca, Marc Platt and Lin-Manuel Miranda.
The film will feature songs from the animated classic by Alan Menken and Howard Ashman, as well as new songs by Menken (music) and Miranda (lyrics).
Production is anticipated to begin in early 2020.