For decades animation studios have been taking classic fairy tales, such as Cinderella and Little Red Riding Hood, and cleaning them up to make them more child-friendly. The original versions of the stories are always more sinister.
For example, in Cinderella, adapted by brothers Grimm but originally a European folk tale, the oldest stepsister was ordered by the mother to cut off her toes in order to fit her foot into the slipper. The other stepsister cut off part of her heel. In the end, when the Prince marries Cinderella (or Aschenputtel as she is called in the Grimm story), two doves fly down and strike both stepsisters in the eyes, blinding them.
Happily ever after? Yes, but only for Aschenputtel.
Now it’s the mermaid’s turn. Recently, it has been reported that Sophia Coppola has signed up to direct a live-action adaptation of The Little Mermaid.
Coppola, the only daughter of director Francis Ford Coppola, has received critical acclaim for previous works such as Lost in Translation and The Virgin Suicides.
According to Deadline, Caroline Thompson (Edward Scissorhands, The Corpse Bride) is rewriting the script, which should stay more true to the 1837 Hans Christian Anderson tale than previous adaptations. The intention, they say, is to “move quickly.”
Given her taste for hipster dream-like qualities in her films, we can presume that Coppola will indeed stay true to the original story, in which a young mermaid is willing to give up her life in the sea and her identity as a mermaid to gain a human soul and the love of a human prince … who marries another. In the end – spoiler alert – the devastated Little Mermaid throws herself into the sea instead of slaying the prince with a knife in order to become a mermaid again.
(Animate that, Disney.)
Coppola’s most recent film was The Bling Ring with Emma Watson who, despite the rumors, has not signed on to star in The Little Mermaid. Yet.
Image via Wikimedia Commons