Sofia Coppola dressed in black

Sofia Coppola quite The Little Mermaid...over 'creative differences'?!

The Little Mermaid is a Disney classic, featuring a red-haired mermaid desperate to live on dry land. If you haven’t seen the Disney film, you definitely know the story, and since the Hans Christian Anderson fairy tale is a little under 180 years old it’s pretty surprising that Sofia Coppola is pulling out of the live-action remake of the film due to ‘creative differences’.

The big sticking point seems to be casting. Although the project has been in the works for over four years now, no cast have been confirmed – apparently, Sofia and Universal Pictures butted heads over who should play Ariel. While Sofia pushed for Maya Thurman Hawke (yes, daughter of Uma Thurman and Ethan Hawke), Universal were concerned Maya wasn’t a big enough name for the blockbuster. The artsy screenwriter is known for indie-style movies and unusual cast choices, but we can’t imagine this was the only reason Sofia quit the movie.

A still from Disney's Ariel cartoon

Sofia isn’t the first director to be booted out of the project, either - Joe Wright (best known for Atonement) was set to direct the fairytale flick, but was swapped out for Sofia in 2014. The writing team has also been chopped and changed, with no signs of a set-in-stone script ready for release. 

What is going on?! We get that there might be some difficulty remaking Ariel, Ursula and Eric true to their original (and darker) Hans Christian Anderson characters rather than Disney’s singing palace under the sea, but can anyone top Sofia Coppola as the perfect director for a dark fairytale? Only time will tell if Disney will swoop in with their own version of the tale before Universal can get their project going. In the meantime, let's look at three other films whose fate has been a little uncertain this year...

1. 50 Shades of Grey. Joe Wright was confirmed to direct 2015’s hottest cinematic release since, well, ever, but again pulled out of the project. Sam Taylor Johnson eventually landed the project, and pulled off a box-office success for the first film in the trilogy. However Sam and author EL James weren’t the best of friends throughout filming, to put it mildly, and Sam won’t be returning... 

2. Steve Jobs. Sorry Ashton Kutcher, 2013’s Steve Jobs biopic clearly wasn’t good enough as Universal are planning a remake for October 2015. Michael Fassbender is being directed by Danny Boyle, after David Fincher (of The Social Network) walked away from the project after a higher wage was refused. 

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3. Wonder Woman. 2017 will see Womder Woman come to life on the big screen, but the film’s director has only just been confirmed. Patty Jenkins, who left rival Marvel’s  Thor 2 over those pesky ‘creative differences’, replaced Michelle MacLaren (whose CV includes Creaking Bad and Game of Thrones), to bring our superhero idol to life.