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Chloë Grace Moretz set to play Ariel in The Little Mermaid live action film

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Ever since we heard the news that the Disney's 1989 film, The Little Mermaid, is to get the live action treatment (that is, to be made into a real-life, non animated film) we've been incredibly excited. And now our excitement has reached peak level.

And that's all thanks to the announcement that Chloë Grace Moretz is set to play Ariel in the upcoming movie.

The 18-year-old is said to have been a favourite for the part from the onset. Having already lead blockbuster movies such as Carrie, The Equalizer and Hugo, she has played her fair share of high-profile roles, which may come in hand for her upcoming performance.

The movie, which is taking inspiration from the original writing of Ariel's tale by Hans Christian Andersen in 1836, has been in development since 2011.

While the lead actor has now been announced, the highly anticipated film still needs a director.

Chloe Moretz

Chloe Moretz

Over a year ago, Sofia Coppola was confirmed to direct a film version of the classic Hans Christian Andersen fairy tale The Little Mermaid.

However, the acclaimed director has now dropped out of the gig "due to creative differences" writes The Hollywood Reporter.

The website says casting was underway for the film, with Coppola meeting with the film's producers recently in London. The studios, Universal and Working Title, are still very keen to move forward with the project and keep it on track.

Atonement director Joe Wright was previously mooted for The Little Mermaid project, which has been in development since 2011, but it's understood he moved over to work on an upcoming adaptation of JM Barrie’s Peter Pan, starring Rooney Mara, instead.

It's expected that the live action feature will focus on the original and darker translation of Andersen's story - in contrast to the hit 1989 Disney adaptation. The script is being written by Caroline Thompson, who penned 1990's Edward Scissorhands.

In fact, Andersen's 1836 tale is a far cry from its Disney-fied incarnation. Forget the happy capers of Ariel and Flounder – the original version is a gory and depressing story about the self-sacrifice and agony of love.

A young mermaid visits the sea’s surface, where she saves a prince from drowning and falls in love. She visits a sea witch and trades her tongue for legs, even though it will feel like she’s walking on jagged swords and she’ll be turned to sea foam if the prince rejects her. The prince is mildly interested in this mute girl, particularly when she dances for him – so she does, despite the excruciating pain, and watches him marry the princess he wrongly believes saved him.

The original ending saw the mermaid turn to sea foam, but it was amended to have her become a "daughter of the air" for not killing the prince, even though it would save her.

Over time, the true nature of Andersen's tale has been amended and glossed over for a children's audience - but the yet-to-be-named new director may well choose to revert to its grittier roots in the upcoming adaptation (especially as it's live action, as opposed to animation).

By doing so, they would adhere to the trend of recent, bleaker fairy tale adaptations such as Snow White and the Huntsman or Maleficent, starring Angelina Jolie.

Coppola, 42, has been critically acclaimed for her stylised, atmospheric direction. She's best known for her work on the 1999 adaptation of Jeffrey Eugenides' novel The Virgin Suicides, 2003's Lost In Translation, starring Scarlett Johansson and Bill Murray, and a rock and roll take on Marie Antoinette in 2006.

Her most recent project was The Bling Ring - a darkly comic take on a real life spate of Hollywood burglaries starring Emma Watson.

The daughter of director Francis Ford Coppola, she sometimes calls on her famous dad for help with various projects.

"I like being independent but I show him my cut when I’m editing and sometimes he makes suggestions," she told The Telegraph last year. "I have a lot of respect for him and I value his opinion but in the end I was always do it the way I feel is right for me and the movie."

There's no word yet on when The Little Mermaid film is being released. 

Words: Anna Brech, Photos: Rex Features

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