You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Film News Roundup: Poppy Drayton’s ‘Little Mermaid’ Movie Set for August Release

In today’s film news roundup, Poppy Drayton’s “The Little Mermaid” gets a theatrical release, Melissa Leo gets a film festival honor, and the script for holiday adventure “Escape From the North Pole” is bought.


A live-action independent version of “The Little Mermaid,” starring British actress Poppy Drayton, has been set for release nationwide exclusively in AMC Theatres beginning Aug. 17.

The movie is inspired by the 1837 Hans Christian Andersen fairy tale rather than the Disney animated movie and follows a young girl who discovers an enchanting woman she believes to be the real “Little Mermaid” of lore.

William Moseley stars as a reporter following a story about a mermaid and a magic healing water. Together with his sick niece, played by Loreto Peralta, they travel to a small town in Mississippi to uncover a legend.

Shirley MacLaine, Gina Gershon, and Armando Gutierrez also star. Production companies are Kingsway Productions and Conglomerate Media and the film is written and directed by Blake Harris and co-directed by Chris Bouchard. Producers are Armando Gutierrez, Robert Molloy and Kevin Adler.

The film is distributed by Freestyle Releasing. Disney’s animated “The Little Mermaid” was released in 1989 and grossed over $200 million worldwide. Disney has attached Rob Marshall to direct a live-action version of its movie. Drayton starred in MTV’s “The Shanarra Chronicles.”


The Mammoth Lakes Film Festival has selected Melissa Leo as the recipient of its Sierra Spirit Award for Acting with a special tribute taking place on May 26.

The tribute will consist of a screening of Leo’s film, “Frozen River,” followed by a moderated conversation and award presentation.

Leo won an Academy Award for “The Fighter” and was nominated for an Oscar for “Frozen River.” She recently starred in “The Most Hated Woman in America” as activist Madelyn Murray O’Hair and is currently starring in Showtime’s comedy series “I’m Dying Up Here.” She will also reprise her role in the upcoming sequel to action/thriller “The Equalizer” alongside Denzel Washington.

“Melissa is an actress who has demonstrated her ability to take on unique and dynamic roles that showcase her remarkable range and someone who continues to make outstanding contributions to the art of film,” said festival director Shira Dubrovner.


Johnny Lin, producer of the upcoming sci-fi thriller “Rise” and psychological thriller “Sacrifice,” has acquired the rights to the holiday action adventure “Escape From the North Pole.”

The screenplay by Paul Laudiero and Ben Baker, was included on the 2017 version of The Black List, the annual ranking of Hollywood’s best unproduced scripts. Lin and his Filmula Entertainment will fully finance and produce the film. The story follows a young girl who, after being told that Santa Claus isn’t real on Christmas Eve, is kidnapped by an evil elf, then escapes and teams up with a good elf, a reindeer and a Russian explorer to rescue Santa from a band of evil elves and save the North Pole.

Lin is also co-producing and co-financing Mexican Revolution thriller “The Creed of Violence,” to be directed by Todd Field, and a remake of the 1978 action adventure “The Wild Geese,” with New Republic’s Brian Oliver. He exec produced Tom Cruise’s 2017 action-adventure “American Made” and is currently producing the upcoming television drama “Champagne Supernovas.”

Laudiero and Baker are represented by WME.

More Film

  • Brett Leonard Boards 'Elijah'

    Film News Roundup: 'Lawnmower Man' Director Brett Leonard Boards 'Elijah'

    In today’s film news roundup, “Elijah” gets a director, a French fry documentary starts shooting and “Uglydolls” moves its release date forward. PROJECT LAUNCH Brett Leonard, best known for directing ”The Lawnmower Man” and “Virtuosity,” will direct the supernatural feature film “Elijah,” based on the Old Testament prophet. The project is set up at Winter [...]


    SAG-AFTRA Commercial Negotiations Set for February

    With no fanfare, SAG-AFTRA and the ad industry have set a mid-February start for negotiations for a successor deal to the union’s master contract, Variety has learned. The current three-year deal — which covers about $1 billion in annual earnings — expires on March 31. SAG-AFTRA and the Joint Policy Committee of the ad industry [...]


    Oscar Nominee Sondra Locke Dies at 74

    Actress and director Sondra Locke, who received a supporting actress Oscar nomination in her first movie role for “The Heart is a Lonely Hunter,” died Nov. 3 at 74. The Los Angeles County Public Health Department confirmed her death. She died due to breast and bone cancer, according to Radar Online, which reported that she [...]

  • Clint Eastwood and Alison Eastwood'The Mule'

    Clint Eastwood: Why Alison Eastwood Came Out of Acting Retirement for Her Dad

    Clint Eastwood’s daughter Alison Eastwood was done with acting after appearing in 2014’s “Finding Harmony.” Or so she thought. It was a Friday night and she and her husband were heading to dinner when her father’s producer Sam Moore called. “He [says], ‘You know, your dad wants you to do this film,” Alison recalls. “I [...]

  • 'Dead Women Walking' Review: Uncompromising, Powerful

    Film Review: 'Dead Women Walking'

    The sober and gripping “Dead Women Walking” focuses on the final days of a series of female inmates facing the death sentence. Divided into nine chapters, each inching its way inexorably closer to the moment of execution, the drama turns the fragmentation of its approach to a powerful advantage. Not only do the individual stories [...]

  • Sam Mendes

    Sam Mendes' World War I Drama '1917' Set for Awards-Season Launch on Christmas 2019

    Universal Pictures has given an awards-season release date of Dec. 25, 2019, to Sam Mendes’ World War I drama “1971.” Steven Spielberg’s Amblin Partners is producing “1917” through its DreamWorks Pictures brand. “1917” will open in limited release on Christmas Day then go wide two weeks later on Jan. 10, 2020. Mendes wrote the script [...]

  • Ventana Sur Queer Latin Film Panel

    Ventana Sur: Panel Talks Merits, Setbacks in Latin Queer Cinema

    BUENOS AIRES — Four venerable professionals from the cinema world joined on Monday evening for Queer Cinema In Latin America, a frank discussion on Latin America’s role within the queer filmscape for Ventana Sur’s Industry conference series held at the UCA campus in Buenos Aires. Touching on advancements in character arc and notable achievements in [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content