Filled with fantasy and adventure, “The Little Mermaid” was inspired by the 1837 Hans Christian Andersen fairy tale. The film imagines a continuation of the classic story, and should not be confused as a remake of the 1989 Disney movie. Elle (Loreto Peralta) is a child with a sense of wonder and a belief in the impossible. Although she has a debilitating sickness, she still finds joy in life. Her Uncle Cam Harrison (William Moseley, “The Royals”) is a reporter who receives a tip on healing water and a real life mermaid (Poppy Drayton, “Downton Abbey”). Elle accompanies her Uncle Cam to a circus in Mississippi to discover the truth of these mystical claims. Other notable cast members are Academy Award Winner Shirley MacLaine (“The Last Word”), Gina Gershon (“Brooklyn Nine-Nine”) and Armando Gutierrez (“Walt Before Mickey”).
The Fresh Committee was included in a media conference call with some members of the cast and crew. It quickly became apparent that a goal of “The Little Mermaid” was to spark feelings of childhood magic – a whimsical reminder of the importance of adventure and challenging one’s beliefs.
The magical atmosphere of the film was accomplished without any CGI. It includes masterful props such as a full prosthetic, hand-painted mermaid tail. Scenes with animals, water and a child in a main role were all layers of difficulty in the film’s production. Another challenging aspect is that the film is a period piece.
Set in 1800s Mississippi, director Blake Harris explained some historical relevance. “These traveling circuses went around selling things [including healing water and mermaids]; they were kind of snake oil salesmen,” he said.
Harris then stated that the film explores the question – “What if you went to one of these traveling circuses that were so big at the time, and you discovered that there actually was a real mermaid?”
Poppy Drayton plays the stunning mermaid, Elizabeth. She sings in a compelling musical number that is an emotional moment for her character. The day this scene was shot also became emotional for Drayton personally. That morning she learned her Grandmother had died.
“There was something about it that, as difficult as it was to do, it was actually quite cathartic in a way,” said Drayton. “I kind of just lost myself in my own mind – the worry and the fear that had built up over the preceding week just sort of fell away; and it actually ended up being one of my favorite dates to shoot, bizarrely.”
William Moseley’s character, Cam Harrison, hears Elizabeth singing in the film. Cam is quite intrigued by this so-called mermaid, although he has what is described as “logical skepticism.”
“In terms of the character I think it works really well that he is a skeptic and a cynic,” Moseley said. “As we get older in life, we become more cynical to things – we do sort of believe less in magic, we find out that things aren’t real … I think what’s really fun about the story is it takes you back to being a child.”
“The Little Mermaid” can be viewed exclusively at AMC theaters this Friday, August 17. Check out the list below for a theater near you … perhaps you may channel a piece of your own childhood spirit.
Official website: http://thelittlemermaid.tv/