It sounded so awesome; Sofia Coppola directing a live-action version of Hans Christian Anderson’s The Little MermaidWhat a great combination of artist and subject; a filmmaker who loves plumbing the depths of privilege and following women as they struggle to free themselves from the prisons society puts them in, and a fairy tale that’s got all of that plus mermaids. It was perfect. But maybe it was too perfect; Deadline now reports that Coppola has dropped out of the project citing “creative differences” with producers at Universal Pictures and Working Title films.

Deadline also says the project is still moving forward without Coppola (and no wonder, given the big business generated by other recent live-action fairy tales like Cinderella and Maleficent):

Universal and Tim Bevan and Eric Fellner are pressing ahead, with a Caroline Thompson rewrite on the story of the mermaid willing to make a Faustian bargain to live on land after she falls in love. Previous drafts were done by Fifty Shades Of Grey scribe Kelly Marcel and Shame scribe Abi Morgan, and Joe Wright was at one time eyeing this to direct.

Coppola was the reason to be interested in this Little Mermaid production, so it’s hard to maintain that interest now without knowing who will replace her. And that will be the key; is there another director out there with the chops to make us care about a live-action Little Mermaid? Maybe Pitch Perfect’s Jason Moore? Or The Babadook’s Jennifer Kent? Or Neveldine/Taylor (obviously)? We’ll have to see what poor unfortunate soul takes the gig, and the let that determine our curiosity level.