Disney’s Live Action ‘Little Mermaid’ Set to Shoot in Sardinia

Nick Vivarelli
·3-min read

Disney’s live action adaptation of “The Little Mermaid,” starring R&B singer Halle Bailey as Ariel, is set to shoot on the Italian island of Sardinia, known for its crystal clear emerald waters.

Production crew of the hotly anticipated Disney pic, directed by Rob Marshall, is expected to start disembarking in Sardinia in coming weeks. The shoot will be moving from London’s Pinewood Studios to the small seaside village of Santa Teresa di Gallura, on the island’s northern coast, according to a local press report, which sources have confirmed. The area is known for its stunning, super clean seafront, rocky shore and Bronze Age artifacts.

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Cameras are expected to start rolling in early summer on the Sardinia portion of the “Little Mermaid” shoot, according to local tourism official Fabrizio Scolafurru, who was speaking with Sardinian newspaper La Nuova Sardegna.

The proud Sardinian official said “Little Mermaid” will involve some 300 people working on the island location for a total of “roughly three months.”

The Sardinia Film Commission, citing a non-disclosure agreement with the studio, declined to comment on the report. Disney did not immediately respond to Variety’s request for comment.

Disney scouts are currently in Sardinia making the final rounds to pinpoint exact marine and other locations for the film, as well as carrying out prep work, one local source told Variety.

The island’s dreamlike landscape combining rugged coastlines, uncontaminated nature and mysterious ancient stone structures called nuraghe, is a well-established magnet for international productions spanning James Bond classic “The Spy Who Loved Me” to George Clooney-directed TV series “Catch-22,” and more recently Austrian writer-director Ulrike Kofler’s 2020 melodrama “What We Wanted,” now streaming globally on Netflix, as well as Netflix’s upcoming Dwayne Johnson-led actioner “Red Notice.”

In line with its nature-friendly spirit, productions shot in Sardinia are made to respect so-called Green Set protocols to reduce their environmental footprint. The island offers financial incentives comprising a local co-production fund and hospitality cash rebate on top of Italy’s 30% tax credit (with a roughly $22 million cap), which also has a cash-back structure allowing producers to use 80% of the incentive while they shoot.

The Little Mermaid” went into production in 2020, but was subsequently delayed by the pandemic. Besides Halle Bailey in the lead as the mermaid princess who dreams of being a human, the pic stars Melissa McCarthy as her evil aunt Ursula, Jonah Hauer-King as Prince Eric and Javier Bardem as King Triton.

The upcoming film will incorporate original songs from the 1989 animated classic, as well as new tunes from original composer Alan Menken, with lyrics by “Hamilton” creator Lin-Manuel Miranda. Miranda is also producing along with Marshall, Marc Platt and John DeLuca. Jessica Virtue and Allison Erlikhman are overseeing for the studio.

A release date for “Little Mermaid” has yet to be revealed by Disney though a 2022 outing is likely.

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