If your eyes and ears work, you know that live-action Disney remakes are all the rage, and will be for some time. The first major cracks at live-action updates, including 2016’s The Jungle Book and last year’s Beauty and the Beast, were unqualified box-office triumphs for the House of Mouse.
Mulan is currently in production, as are Aladdin and The Lion King.
Though it technically hasn’t been greenlit yet, the live-action The Little Mermaid has been discussed for months. Among the rumors: Mary Poppins Returns’ Rob Marshall will direct, and Zendaya has reportedly been offered the lead.
As reported by Disinsider, the latest rumor is the one that’s really got our attention: Lady Gaga is allegedly the top choice to play Ursula the Sea Witch, the 1989 animated classic’s big bad.
Unless you’ve been in a bunker for the past few months, and maybe even then, you’ve heard about Gaga’s big-screen breakthrough in Bradley Cooper’s A Star Is Born. The pop star-turned-actress is an early favorite to win Best Actress at next year’s Academy Awards.
Is she right for Ursula, though?
I just finally got around to seeing A Star Is Born last night, and I will say Gaga is every bit as great in it as I’d heard. She’s screen-commanding and astonishingly believable through every step of her character’s trajectory, from nobody to pop star.
For one, I think Gaga might be too likable for Ursula. The Sea Witch can be fun, but she needs to be at least somewhat menacing or the movie will be dramatically flat. She’s downright scary at times in the animated film— though not as contemptible and heartless as the Queen in Snow White (damn near the scariest villain in cinema history). Gaga is so great in A Star Is Born that I’m more than open to seeing what she can do with the part.
Call me crazy, but I love the idea of Marshall re-teaming with Chicago star (and Oscar winner) Catherine Zeta-Jones for this. The big-screen Ursula doesn’t need to look like she did in the cartoon. She needs presence, the needs to be able to sing and dance, and she needs to pull of a mix of seduction and villainy. The Sea With smooth-talks Ariel into signing her life away. I can totally picture Zeta-Jones pulling this off. I think it would be a great comeback role for a damn good actress.
I could see Idina Menzel pulling this off, as well as maybe Queen Latifah, Marion Cottilard, Nicole Kidman, Eva Green and Penelope Cruz.
Dark horse contenders who I really think could deliver (mainly because they’re great chameleons who always surprise us): Anne Hathaway and Gwyneth Paltrow.
Cynthia Erivo, the breakout star of Bad Times at the El Royale, also should be mentioned.
Or Tiffany Haddish. Because based on what I’ve seen, I’m pretty sure Tiffany Haddish can do just about anything.
Who do you think is right for Ursula? Is it Gaga? Let us know your thoughts in the comments.