Jonah Hauer-King will be taking on a major role as The Wrap has learned that the British actor will play the part of Prince Eric in The Little Mermaid live-action remake that will begin production in 2020. He will star alongside Halle Bailey who will play Ariel. Hauer-King has appeared in Little Women, A Dog's Way Home and Postcards From London. He also was in the BBC World War II miniseries, World on Fire.
The initial casting of Bailey as Ariel caused some controversy on social media. The decision, though, was an easy one for Marshall.
"After an extensive search, it was abundantly clear that Halle possesses that rare combination of spirit, heart, youth, innocence, and substance — plus a glorious singing voice — all intrinsic qualities necessary to play this iconic role," director Rob Marshall said in a statement.
Back in August, it was reported that Harry Styles had turned down the role of Prince Eric. It was never confirmed whether or not he was seriously considered, but a source told The Wrap that the One Direction singer respectfully declined the opportunity.
The casting news comes on the heels of ABC's recent The Little Mermaid Live special. The two-hour event went over well with the fans, but not without some hiccups. There was an issue of viewers at home struggling to hear over the live audience's cheers and clapping. Along with that, some of the costumers came under scrutiny, including Shaggy's odd look as Sebastian and the puppet-version of Flounder that didn't sit well with fans.
Auli'l Cravalho's performance as Ariel seemed to receive the least pushback as viewers appreciated her rendition of the iconic mermaid. Speaking with PEOPLE, Cravalho, who voiced the title character in Moana, said she received some advice from the original voice of Ariel, Jodi Benson.
"I actually met her a few years ago at D23, which is a wonderful Disney convention, and I remember her just telling me — and this is before, of course, anything about me playing Ariel — she said that Ariel had changed her life and I should 'buckle up, buttercup' because everything is about to change and about to be so magical and amazing."
The original version of the The Little Mermaid premiered in 1989.