Update: A spokesperson for ABC has responded to Refinery29 with a statement on the news of the postponed project. "We are postponing the ‘Little Mermaid Live’ special," they wrote. "We love the idea of doing a live musical and want to make it wonderful. The project is so unique that we are making best efforts to do it next year and want to give it all the attention it deserves."
This story was originally published on August 4 at 12:55 p.m.
While those close to the situation were not authorized to speak publicly, the outlet reported that the special has been postponed, but is most likely canceled, due to budget issues. The cast of the show had yet to be announced, but rehearsals were approaching and a decent amount of the set had already been built.
ABC has not released an official statement on the news — although Refinery29 has reached out for comment — this decision comes as things for the Little Mermaid live action movie are ramping up. It's hard to compete with Lin-Manuel Miranda, who is writing the lyrics for the reboot, which Alan Menken confirms will come with all new songs.
Back in November, Miranda told Vulture, "I literally don’t have a title for what my job on The Little Mermaid is yet. Right now, it’s the guy who wears the ‘don’t mess it up’ hat. If I could sign a contract with that job title on it, that would be great!"
It seems like trying to do Little Mermaid anything is difficult, though, since this movie has had its own share of struggles. Sofia Coppola was originally signed on to direct a reboot, but pulled out due to conflicting visions:
"It wasn’t the Disney version, it was actually the original fairy tale, which is much darker,” Coppola said during a talk with New York City’s Film Society of Lincoln Center. "I thought it would be fun to do a fairy tale, I’ve always loved fairy tales, so I was curious about doing that...It became too big of a scale. I wanted to shoot it really underwater, which would have been a nightmare. But underwater photography is so beautiful. We even did some tests. It was not very realistic, that approach. But it was interesting to think about."
Chloë Grace Moretz was also signed on to play the role of Ariel, but later backed out due to her hiatus from acting.
One day, we'll get the Little Mermaid reboot we deserve.