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The Little Mermaid Deepens Eric & Ariel’s Relationship

The Little Mermaid live action version deepens Eric and Ariel’s relationship. Jonah Hauer-King, who plays Prince Eric, discusses in this interview.

The Little Mermaid Kiss the Girl

(L-R): Halle Bailey as Ariel and Jonah Hauer-King as Prince Eric in Disney’s live-action THE LITTLE MERMAID. Photo courtesy of Disney. © 2023 Disney Enterprises, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

The Little Mermaid live action reimagining updates a lot of things from the animated classic film. The original movie was eighty minutes, while this one clocks in at over two hours, so that should come as no surprise. One of the most important changes reflects the deepening of Eric and Ariel’s relationship. This time around it is much more believable, as the two clearly have things in common, versus just liking the way each other looks. 

The Little Mermaid Cast On Deepening Eric & Ariel’s Relationship

During the Global Press Conference for The Little Mermaid (2023), Prince Eric himself, Jonah Hauer-King, discusses this update to the story. He says that his favorite thing to explore about their relationship is their true friendship. “Disney romances are always filled with that instinctive attraction to one another. We all wanna see that, but I think what was fun about this, and I think a
lot of it came from our off screen selves as well, was looking at Ariel and Eric as two people who were kindred spirits.”

He goes on to say that both Eric and Ariel in this film feel a little bit restless with there they are in their lives. They are trapped behind the four walls of their respective castles and looking outwards, not in. “What was nice about that was that it meant that their relationship feels really earnt. They both felt like they were teaching each other things. They were excited and fascinated by each other’s worlds although they didn’t actually know it until the end.”

The Little Mermaid Jonah Hauer-King and Halle Bailey interview eric and ariel

(L-R): Jonah Hauer-King as Prince Eric and Halle Bailey as Ariel in Disney’s live-action THE LITTLE MERMAID. Photo by Giles Keyte. © 2023 Disney Enterprises, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

Jonah says that co-star Melissa McCarthy, who plays Ursula in the live action The Little Mermaid, has explained it as “a really good message for what it means to be in love and what it means to be in a relationship is ultimately tied to friendship.”

Eric and Ariel’s relationship this time around is a friendship first, and a romance second. Jonah confesses “That’s the fundamental thing of it. And that’s why it lasts, and that’s what makes it special.” He claims that is was easy for him to bring that to the screen because Halle Bailey, who plays Ariel, is a “riot” and a lot of fun. He says the two of them got along really well. 

It is then revealed that he was a bit star struck when he first started to work with Halle because he has always been such a big fan of hers. Jonah says that he told the moderator Nischelle Turner from Entertainment Tonight that in confidence, but she wasn’t holding it back.

Witness the evolution of Prince Eric and Ariel’s relationship on the big screen when it hits theaters everywhere May 12th.

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The Little Mermaid 2023 poster

About The Little Mermaid (2023)

The Little Mermaid is the beloved story of Ariel, a beautiful and spirited young mermaid with a thirst for adventure. The youngest of King Triton’s daughters and the most defiant, Ariel longs to find out more about the world beyond the sea and, while visiting the surface, falls for the dashing Prince Eric.

While mermaids are forbidden to interact with humans, Ariel must follow her heart. She makes a deal with the evil sea witch, Ursula, which gives her a chance to experience life on land but ultimately places her life – and her father’s crown – in jeopardy.

The Little Mermaid hits theaters on May 26th.


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[…] but the two take the time to build a relationship. It is a friendship first, and a love second. Eric and Ariel’s relationship is deepened in the live-action version of the […]

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