The Little Mermaid director reveals why remake opens with foreboding quote

Halle Bailey as Ariel in The Little MermaidDisney

Disney’s live-action remake of The Little Mermaid opens with a rather foreboding quote, and now the movie’s director has revealed why. 

The Little Mermaid has been making a splash at the box office, retelling the classic story set under the sea with Halle Bailey as the eponymous ocean-dweller who visits the surface world and falls in love with Prince Eric (Jonah Hauer-King). 

While the Disney movie has been the unfortunate target of discrimination and review-bombing, IMDb has been taking action against the trolls – and the box office figures show that it’s a success, as does its 95% audience score on Rotten Tomatoes. 

Article continues after ad

Fans of The Little Mermaid will know that the story originates from a much darker tale written by Hans Christian Andersen back in the 1830s. And the live-action remake has a connection to the fairytale in more ways than one. Warning: Spoilers ahead for The Little Mermaid!

Why The Little Mermaid opens with foreboding quote

As well as the key themes from Andersen’s 1837 story, The Little Mermaid opens with a direct quote from the book, which reads: “But a mermaid has no tears, and therefore she suffers so much more.”

Article continues after ad

Deadline asked director and producer Rob Marshall why he decided to include the sinister quote alongside footage of stormy waters, especially when the 1989 animated version didn’t. 

In response, he explained: “The quote for me has such depth to it. It says, ‘Look what she’s going to go through to get [to her end goal].’ You know what I mean? That she has to struggle to find her way. 

“That’s really what this film’s about. You don’t ever give up. And the fact that a mermaid has no tears is why they feel so much more. To me, it sets the table for the whole piece. There’s much more emotion, depth and stakes to what she’s trying to achieve. 

Article continues after ad

“And at the end, when she becomes a full human, she sheds a tear and can finally feel what humans feel. That was very profound for us. And we found this depth to this film and this story directly from Hans Christian Andersen.”

Marshall went on to explain that there was “so much more to bring” to the live-action compared to its “beloved and wonderful” animated counterpart, adding: “In this genre, we get to do something deeper.”

Article continues after ad

As for the choppy waters in the background, producer John DeLuca said: “We also wanted to start it out with those crashing waves and the turbulence of those waves and juxtapose that with what we both fell in love with the Hans Christian Andersen tale and really bring that into this realization.”

The Little Mermaid is in cinemas now. You can read the rest of our coverage on the movie here, and check out our other TV and movie hubs below: 

Article continues after ad

Physical 100 Season 2 | Bleach Thousand Year Blood War Part 2 | Chainsaw Man Season 2 | Jigokuraku Hell’s Paradise | Jujutsu Kaisen Season 2 | Invincible Season 2 | The Boys Season 4 | Stranger Things Season 5 | Severance Season 2 | The Witcher Season 3 | Harry Potter TV show | House of the Dragon Season 2 | Fast X | Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse | The Flash | Indiana Jones 5 | Oppenheimer | Barbie | Blue Beetle | Extraction 2 | The Night Agent Season 2

Related Topics