The Little Mermaid’s Facts You Might Not Know
It is based on a traditional fairy tale.
Hans Christian Andersen probably didn’t expect to have such a long cultural impact. His fairytales, on the other hand, have inspired numerous films. The Little Mermaid was perhaps his most successful story. In Copenhagen, Denmark, where Andersen lived at the time the story was published, there is even a statue dedicated to him.
‘It could have been an early Disney film.
Walt Disney wanted to make a film based on The Little Mermaid, which means he was still alive when the idea was born. After the success of Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs in 1937, Disney planned an anthology film based on Andersen’s fairytales. That, however, never came to fruition.
The pitch was initially rejected.
Ron Clements, who co-directed The Great Mouse Detective with John Musker for Disney, came across The Little Mermaid in 1985 and began to consider adapting it. According to a 2016 Yahoo interview, Clements and Musker pitched the idea to Disney production head honcho Jeffrey Katzenberg at an all-hands-on-deck pitch meeting. Katzenberg declined because there were plans for a Splash sequel at the time. The next day, he changed his mind and approved Clements’ proposal.
A delay aided in the transformation of the film.
The Little Mermaid was put on hold at Disney for a while so that the studio could concentrate on two other projects: Who Framed Roger Rabbit and Oliver & Company. Howard Ashman, best known at the time for “Little Shop of Horrors,” was commissioned to write a song for the latter. As a result, Ashman joined the cast of The Little Mermaid in 1987, assisting in the transformation of the film into a musical. Ashman enlisted the help of composer Alan Menken, who had previously collaborated with him on “Little Shop of Horrors.”
Ursula had a few ideas.
Joan Collins as Alexis Carrington on Dynasty was an inspiration for Ashman’s villainous Ursula. This was most likely due to her vibe and personality. Divine, the drag queen character made famous in John Waters’ works, was ultimately the biggest inspiration for the sea witch.