Sofia Coppola Is No Longer Directing ‘The Little Mermaid’

Sofia Coppola Fairyland
Craig Barritt/Getty Images

After months of trying to determine who would play the title character in Working Title and Universal’s live-action version of “The Little Mermaid,” director Sofia Coppola has exited the project over creative differences.

Universal and producers Tim Bevan and Eric Fellner of Working Title are still moving forward with the project.

According to insiders, the studio and Coppola clashed over who should play the lead role of Ariel. The “Lost in Translation” director was said to be very high on newcomer Maya Thurman Hawke, the daughter of Ethan Hawke and Uma Thurman, while studio brass were wary about the pick.

A spokesman for Universal declined to comment.

“The Little Mermaid” was lining up to be Coppola’s biggest studio film to date. In 2006, she directed the box office disappointment “Marie Antoinette” for Columbia after breaking out with the acclaimed indie “The Virgin Suicides.” Both pics starred Kirsten Dunst.

Coppola, whose last film “Somewhere” currently has no other project lined up though she did recently finish the Netflix special “A Very Murray Christmas,” which she directed and wrote with Bill Murray and Mitch Glazer.

Deadline Hollywood first reported the news.

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  1. Chloe William says:

    Coppola’s last film was not Somewhere, it was The Bling Ring.

  2. mullitt3d says:

    She directed a little movie called LOST IN TRANSLATION between THE VIRGIN SUICIDES and MARIE ANTOINETTE. It was a big hit and she won an Academy Award for the screenplay(She was also the first American woman to be nominated for best director). Additionally, the last film she directed was not SOMEWHERE in 2010 but THE BLING RING in 2013. Do your homework.

    • Dave J. says:

      “Lost in Translation” was directed mostly by her father than her doing! And she was mirroring “Lost In Translation” with her childhood when she used to hang around in movie sets while her father was making movies in a foreign country! Sophia would not have gotten that Oscar had it not been for Francis Ford Coppola! She’s incapable to make a successful movie on her own!

      • chill says:

        Don’t be bitter dude! She’s talented as heck. I mean, how could she have a dad that is so talented and not have a little of it rub off?! I think the problem here is that she seems like she’s trying to hard to be taken seriously as an intellectual and not as someone “commercial.” When “Little Mermaid” is meant to be commercial! And even more so, people seem to forget that it’s a million times harder to make something commercial than making something obscure & anti-popular. And also, it’s a million times harder to stay in the box that be all “out of the box.” I do think Coppola has the talent to do this movie though, but I think she is also her own worst enemy. And hope they get Branagh as a replacement. Because Cinderella was done amazing! Or else, I hope they get Baz Luhrmann (but require him to stick w/ the classic script and not pull another “Gatsby”). Or else, as a comment below said, I think Michael bay would do an amazing job with this!! The Little Mermaid is a pretty explosive movie. Another option, Amy Heckerling?? Nobody does cuteness like her. Or, how about whoever did that Little Mermaid parody for funny or die?! Becuase if you’re gonna do a alternative reinvention, that is how to do it!! Best thing I ever saw. OR, how about david fincher?! It is a dark story ?! Am sad to hear though that the coppola was kicked out. I really love everything she’s done. And I really thought (and still think) she could make a gorgeous movie of it. But would be thrilled if they got Branagh. I cannot praise what he did with Cinderella enough!!

  3. Dracus says:

    I guess her vision of how the movie should look got lost in translation.

  4. Dave J. says:

    I don’t know what the big uproar about Sophia Coppola! From what I know, she’s a very average director who a portion of what she has done is usually the result of her, father Francis Ford Coppola than Sophia herself!

  5. haiya / shalom✋ says:

    NooOOooooo!!!! Let the Coppola do what she wants!!! #donthustledaflow :'(

    But on a side note… Now that she’s gone… I think Michael Bay would do the most amazing Little Mermaid ever!!! :D :D :D #GETHIM!!!!!!!! #PLEAAASEEEEEEEE #:D #ArielmeetsVictoriaSecret!:D👼

    🙌 💁🐠 🐚🌴🐬🏄 🇺🇸😍 💇🎶 🍴💘💅👰💍🔥⚡️⚡️🐙😱🌋🌊 🌙🍤💀 <<Emoji Mood Reel :D

    • nick says:

      Would’ve never thought it, but Michael Bay could do an amazing job… Or Baz Luhrman? The poolside / underwater scenes in “Romeo + Juliet” were unforgettable visuals … That emoji mood reel’ is genius though haha! Is that a dead shrimp??

  6. Daniel says:

    Well, we wouldn´t want a classic tale be told in a manner that would be achingly boring. So, farewell to her. And thanks.

  7. Caleb says:

    Her last film was “The Bling Ring”, not “Somewhere”.

    • Bobby Karmi says:

      Thanks, I was about to say just that.

      This really bums me out because I felt like Coppola would’ve brought something new and interesting to the story while still making a Coppola film. I wonder who will replace her, and if I will still be interested enough to watch it.

  8. just get Shailene Woodley to do it !

  9. Fred Mertz says:

    She was hiring a girl who looks like she could be her daughter, Did she really think that would fly? Has she seen Disney child stars?

  10. TOM says:

    Ava Devarney should take over and cast QWallis in the title role.

  11. Candice says:

    Thank God, Sophia’s NOT a very good Director. Average at best. She would ruin the franchise.

  12. BobC. says:

    I’d vote for Elizabeth Banks to direct. She did a great job with the “Pitch Perfect” sequel.

  13. patrik says:

    talented ladies and creative directing (S. Coppola)

  14. francesscarlet says:

    thank god Maya Thurman-Hawke is NOT playing Ariel

  15. She could have made this like MARIE ANTOINETTE, have the Mermaid be all fashion-conscious and pampered, instead of throwing away her beautiful tail for some ungrateful wretch of a prince–or whatever happened in the original story.

  16. Angela says:

    Character’s name should be Arial, not Aerial

  17. JE Vizzusi says:

    She is getting more and more like her Father everyday. They all can’t be masterpieces so why not take their cash… be cool and run with it. Francis well known to never give in, but he sold out a couple of times as well. Normally I would say you go girl.. but being that we are dying for more Indies from her.. a paycheck like this, well how do you say no?

  18. Last directed The Bling Ring

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