According to The Hollywood Reporter, Melissa McCarthy is reportedly in talks to depict Ursula in the live-action remake of the iconic 1989 animated film. While the agreement has not yet been closed, McCarthy seems to be taking on the position as an utter no-brainer.
The Little Mermaid is perhaps the most beloved movies of the Mouse House’s films from the late 1980s and its revival in the early 1990s, and Ursula the Sea Witch has become as an iconic antagonist as any from the Golden Age studios.
In recent years, the live-action versions of Disney’s classics have done great box office, starting with the 2016 edition of Jungle Book by director Jon Favreau, which boasted masterful production design and served as an emphatic proof of concept. That film broke nearly a billion bucks at the global box office, and more success followed with the 2017 Emma Watson starrer Beauty and the Beast raking in more than $1.2 billion globally.
While Dumbo’s latest re-imagining by Tim Burton has not worked so well with critics or viewers, its performance appears more like an anomaly than a trend. May’s live-action redo of Aladdin scored $819 million worldwide at the box office, and this summer’s The Lion King is tracking to annihilate that performance, almost certainly becoming the next billion-dollar feather in Disney’s live-action cap.
McCarthy’s deal is not yet finished, according to Variety, but the production is looking to create modern and convincing casting decisions while still paying tribute to the beloved animated original.
In the 1989 movie, Pat Carroll voiced the villainous octopus, whose appearance was inspired by the famous drag queen Divine.
The new film will be directed by Rob Marshall, who has just directed “Mary Poppins Returns” for the Mouse House. The film will include songs from the animated musical and new ones from Alan Menken, who wrote the music the first time around — and Lin-Manuel Miranda of “Hamilton” fame.