Introducing, Prince Eric! Jonah Hauer-King is starring alongside Halle Bailey in the live-action Little Mermaid movie, but Harry Styles actually almost got the job.

“We met with him. He was lovely. What a wonderful guy,” the film’s director, Rob Marshall, told Entertainment Weekly in April 2023. “But at the end of the day, he really felt like he wanted to go off and do the movies that he ended up doing, which were sort of darker.”

Keep reading for more details on why Harry Styles wasn’t cast as Prince Eric in the Little Mermaid movie. 

Who Is Playing Prince Eric in the Live-Action ‘Little Mermaid’?

In November 2019, fans were introduced to British star Jonah, who got the coveted Prince Eric role.

Before his casting, the London native made it clear that he “wouldn’t say no” to starring in a musical, while chatting with 1883 Magazine in September 2019.

Why Didn’t Harry Styles Play Prince Eric in the Live-Action ‘Little Mermaid’?

Multiple reports shared that the “Watermelon Sugar” singer was up for the role. In August 2019, Variety reported that he had passed.

Under the Sea! Everything We Know About Disney's Upcoming 'The Little Mermaid' Live-Action Movie Ha
Courtesy of Disney; Shutterstock

“Harry made the decision to move on amicably,” sources shared at the time. “The studio has already begun looking at others for the part and a decision should come shortly.”

Year’s later, the Little Mermaid director Rob weighed in on Harry’s decision to pass on the role.

“For a lot of young musical people like Harry, you’re trying to carve your way and you don’t wanna be seen as a singer, necessarily,” the filmmaker explained to EW. “That’s why he was really looking to do something not in the musical genre, to really stretch himself. It was really a fun idea to play with, but in the end, I always think things happen for a reason. I’m so happy to have two young, new people in the film.”

What Did Harry Styles Say About Playing Prince Eric?

I want to put music out and focus on that for a while,” Harry told The Face Magazine in September 2019. “But every­one involved in it was amaz­ing, so I think it’s going to be great. I’ll enjoy watch­ing it, I’m sure.”

In a separate interview with Capital Breakfast, Harry recalled his meeting with the “most wonderful man,” Rob.

“He’s great, and it was just honestly a few things and it just wasn’t … it’s going to be an amazing film,” the “Sign of the Times” singer told the radio show in October 2019. “They shoot for so long, and I want to tour next year, maybe, potentially … haven’t announced that yet.”

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