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Sofia Coppola wanted to turn The Little Mermaid into a dark fairy tale

Sofia Coppola The Little Mermaid

Several years ago Sofia Coppola signed on to direct Universal's live-action adaptation of THE LITTLE MERMAID, but the following year she departed the project due to those pesky "creative differences." At the time she said that she realized she wasn't the "right fit" for the film as they couldn't "agree creatively about how to do it." After Coppola left the film behind, Universal signed Chloe Grace Moretz up to star in THE LITTLE MERMAID and tasked Richard Curtis with penning the script. Chloe Grace Moretz would later drop out herself and the movie has been in limbo since then.

While speaking at the New York City’s Film Society’s "An Evening with Sofia Coppola," the director elaborated on why she left THE LITTLE MERMAID and what her plans for the project were.

It wasn’t the Disney version, it was actually the original fairy tale, which is much darker. I thought it would be fun to do a fairy tale, I’ve always loved fairy tales, so I was curious about doing that.

The original Hans Christian Andersen tale is certainly a little more grim than Disney's version, and a darker take would have helped to set it apart from Disney's own upcoming live-action remake. However, the project started to become "too big of scale" for Coppola, who said that "when it’s smaller, you can have exactly what you have in mind." Coppola also really wanted to shoot the film underwater, which she admits "would have been a nightmare." Tests were conducted but it was decided that, although it was interesting to think about, it wasn't a very realistic approach to filming the movie. Sofia Coppola felt as though Universal was making the project more about business than art, and left to direct THE BEGUILED.

Based on Thomas P. Cullinan's novel of the same name, Sofia Coppola's THE BEGUILED takes place at a Southern boarding school run by the icy Martha Farnsworth (Nicole Kidman). When a wounded enemy soldier (Colin Farrell) arrives, a series of events are set in motion as "sexual tension and dangerous rivalries" overtake the school. Kirsten Dunst, Elle Fanning, Angourie Rice, and Oona Laurence also star.

The official synopsis for THE BEGUILED:

“The Beguiled” is an atmospheric thriller from acclaimed writer/director Sofia Coppola. The story unfolds during the Civil War, at a Southern girls’ boarding school. Its sheltered young women take in an injured enemy soldier. As they provide refuge and tend to his wounds, the house is taken over with sexual tension and dangerous rivalries, and taboos are broken in an unexpected turn of events.

THE BEGUILED will open in theaters on June 23rd.

Source: IndieWire

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