Melissa McCarthy, fresh off her second Oscar nomination after a standout starring turn in 2018’s acclaimed Can You Ever Forgive Me?, is in early negotiations to play Ursula, the iconic undersea villain of Disney’s The Little Mermaid, in the studio’s new live-action adaptation of their 1989 animated classic. The new film comes from a pair of Oscar nominees in director Rob Marshall and writer David Magee, re-teaming after last year’s Mary Poppins Returns.
Though McCarthy’s deal is not yet completed, her casting would add an established big studio name to a production with which Disney are “looking to make contemporary and compelling casting choices, while still paying homage to the beloved animated original,” per Variety. The obvious follow-up question for lovers of the original film, though, is can McCarthy sing? (The answer? She sure can!)
Disney’s new Little Mermaid will feature songs from the original film, which took home Oscars for both original song (“Under the Sea”) and score, and was nominated for another (“Kiss the Girl” got an original song nod, as well), in addition to new songs from original composer Alan Menken and—who else?—Lin-Manuel Miranda. Miranda will also produce alongside Marshall, Marc Platt and John DeLuca, with Jessica Virtue and Allison Erlikhman overseeing the project for Disney.
McCarthy broke out with 2011’s Bridesmaids and has been running the adult comedy table ever since, but playing a Disney villain would constitute her stepping into a whole new level of limelight. We’ll keep our tentacles crossed and keep you posted on further casting for this picture.
Watch Ursula (as originally voiced by Pat Carroll) perform her classic villain song “Poor Unfortunate Souls” in the original Little Mermaid below.