Rob Marshall felt it was “fate” for him to direct ‘The Little Mermaid’.
The 62-year-old filmmaker has always felt a “deep connection” with the 1989 animated movie because, like his own directorial debut ‘Chicago’, it helped “kick the door open” for big screen musicals, so he was thrilled to take things further with the new live action Disney movie.
Rob - who has also directed film versions of classic musicals 'Annie' and 'Into the Woods - told SFX magazine: “When I did ‘Chicago’, I felt a deep connection with ‘Mermaid’, because they had kicked the door open for movie musicals and we then pushed the door even further with a live-action musical.
“Audiences were ready to accept actors moving from scene into song.
“So when they came and asked me to do this, it felt like fate.”
But Rob promised the new film is more “modern” than the animated tale because Ariel – who is played by Halle Bailey – gives up her voice because she believes the inhabitants of the sea are shutting out humans for the wrong reasons.
He said: “What makes it a very modern story is that Ariel’s not giving up her voice for a man, that’s not what’s happening here.
“That idea was very modern, to not be afraid of the ‘other’.
“When we were making this, walls were being put up and divisions were being created, and people were getting more insular.
“This is a character who is reaching through fear. They are building a bridge as opposed to a wall.
“It was an antidote to what was happening in the world and to the divisions that were and are happening in the world.
“It’s a reminder that we’re all one.”