And in today’s least shocking news item, Disney wants a white dude to direct an upcoming live-action remake of a classic animated movie. The studio has reportedly made Rob Marshall their top pick to helm The Little Mermaid, based on their 1989 animated adaptation of the Hans Christian Andersen tale. Marshall, who previously directed Into the Woods and the forthcoming Mary Poppins Returns for the studio, is said to be taking the holidays to mull it over.
The musical never completely died as a movie genre, but it did lay dormant for a good long while throughout the 1980s and ’90s, with only the occasional throwback like Pennies From Heaven, Newsies, or Everyone Says I Love You popping up, like an old memory. Back then, the movie business largely conceded its tradition of song-and-dance to Disney cartoons and MTV, assuming — wrongly — that the idea of flesh-and-blood actors breaking into big numbers in the middle of narrative feature films had become too cornball for the modern mass audience.
It wasn’t long (a few days, actually) after Disney announced plans for a new Mary Poppins movie that a rumor began circulating that the studio had their sights set on Emily Blunt to play the title role. Someone at Disney must have a pretty strong vision board because Blunt is officially in talks to play the part originated by Julie Andrews in the 1964 classic. Wishes really do come true.
Rob Marshall, director of such films as Chicago and last year’s Into the Woods, made a heroic effort during an conversation with Vulture to explain what, exactly, he intends his new Mary Poppins film to be without saying s-e-q-u-e-l.