Melissa McCarthy is in early talks to play Ursula in Disney’s live-action The Little Mermaid.
According to Variety, Disney wants McCarthy to play Ursula, the film’s primary antagonist. In the original animated movie, Ursula takes Ariel’s voice in exchange for giving her legs, so that the young mermaid may realize her love for Prince Eric. Ursula unsuccessfully attempts to thwart Ariel’s chances at love with Prince Eric over the course of the film.
Judging by Variety‘s report, the live-action Little Mermaid is angling to update and otherwise “fix” the 1989 animated film in the same ways that Disney’s other live-action retellings have aspired to modernize the movies that inspired them. However, when rumors emerged last year claiming that Lady Gaga was being considered to play Ursula, it was met with criticism from fans who felt the iconic antagonist should be portrayed by an appropriately plus-sized actress.
This will mark one of the first family-friendly roles for McCarthy, who has built her career on adult comedies including “Spy,” “The Heat” and “Bridesmaids,” which earned her an Oscar nomination for best-supporting actress.