"The Little Mermaid"'s Director Reveals Why Harry Styles Turned Down the Role of Prince Eric Years Ago

Imagine a world where your childhood crush, Prince Eric, is played by your teenage crush, Harry Styles. Sadly, the dream will never be because the Grammy-winning singer declined to star in the highly anticipated live-action adaptation of "The Little Mermaid," which stars Halle Bailey as Ariel.

Back in 2019, there were some reports of Styles being tapped to play the dashing Prince Eric in Disney's new remake, a role now being played by Jonah Hauer-King. However, director Rob Marshall later told Entertainment Weekly, per a cover story published on April 4, that there were actually hundreds of actors in consideration for the part — including Styles. Though Marshall confirmed he spoke to the "Harry's House" artist for his Disney film, he said Styles "really felt like he wanted to go off and do the movies that he ended up doing, which were sort of darker," seemingly referencing 2022's R-rated "Don't Worry Darling" and "My Policeman."

Previously, Styles spoke out about his potential involvement with the "The Little Mermaid" remake, telling Face Magazine in September 2019 that the movie "was discussed." However, he added, "But 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."

In addition to Bailey and Hauer-King, the upcoming "Little Mermaid" movie also stars Melissa McCarthy as Ursula, Daveed Diggs as Sebastian, Javier Bardem as King Triton, Awkwafina as Scuttle, and Jacob Tremblay as Flounder.

Although it still pains some fans that we may never get a musical movie collaboration between Bailey and Styles, it's understandable why the latter turned down his role. After losing out to Austin Butler for the title part of Elvis Presley in Baz Luhrmann's biopic, Styles might have also declined the Prince Eric gig because he'd hoped to graduate from being seen as a teen idol from One Direction. Considering his three Grammy wins as a solo artist and budding acting career, it's pretty safe to say he succeeded.