the little mermaid cast

As many a Disney movie has taught us: If you wish it, it could come true. That’s what may happen for 13 Reasons Why star Christian Navarro, whose tweet to Disney opened up an audition opportunity for Prince Eric in the live-action remake of The Little Mermaid.

Disney may have to go in another direction after Dunkirk‘s Harry Styles passed on the role, but Christian Navarro is more than happy to step in for him. On August 13, Navarro tweeted about his interest in playing Prince Eric, and offered his performance as Tony Padilla in season 3 of 13 Reasons Why as an “audition.”

“So I heard Harry Styles passed on Prince Eric, well… can sing,” Navarro wrote before pointing out how groundbreaking it would be for The Little Mermaid to have a Latino Disney prince paired with a Black princess, played by Halle Bailey.

Lo and behold, it seems like tagging Disney in a tweet does a little more than shouting into the void. Three weeks later, Navarro revealed that he had sent an actual audition tape to Disney after the House of Mouse “wanted to see what I could do.” It seems like it’s still early in the process, but it’s one step closer than Navarro was before.

Casting Navarro in the role would certainly be a landmark decision on Disney’s part, in line with their casting of Bailey, an African-American actress, in the role of Ariel. Bailey told Variety recently that she welcomed the immense pressure that comes with the role. “I just feel like this role was something bigger than me and greater and it’s going to be beautiful,” Bailey said. “I’m just so excited to be a part of it.”

But one caveat I have is that Navarro looks all 28 of his years (maybe even more if you count the facial hair), and putting him next to 19-year-old Bailey would look a little odd. I wonder if Disney would stick by the questionable age difference of the original film — Ariel was 16, Prince Eric was definitely a twenty-something adult — especially in a remake for modern-day audiences.

Production on the new Little Mermaid is expected to start in 2020.

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