The Little Mermaid: Director Sofia Coppola quits amid row over who should play Ariel

Coppola is the second director to leave Universal's live-action remake

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Sofia Coppola has quit as director of The Little Mermaid live-action remake after reported "creative differences".

The Oscar winner had spent months with studio Universal trying to decide who would play the lead as Ariel but clashed over their differing views, Variety reports.

Coppola, best known for Lost in Translation, was reportedly keen on Uma Thurman and Ethan Hawke's daughter, newcomer Maya Thurman Hawke, but Universal were unconvinced by her choice.

Universal is not commenting on Coppola's departure, but will be moving ahead with The Little Mermaid along with Working Title producers Tim Bevan and Eric Fellner.


Those not familiar with the 1989 animated Disney classic based on Hans Christian Andersen's 19th century fairytale, the story follows a mermaid who longs to be human. After falling for Prince Eric, she sells her voice to sea witch Ursula for the chance to live on land for three days.

The reboot has been in the works since 2011, with Coppola now the second director to leave after Atonement's Joe Wright. Whether a new one will be found before Disney inevitably announces its own plans for a live-action version (it seems to be going through them all) remains to be seen.

Coppola is not believed to have other projects line up but recently wrapped work on Netflix special A Very Murray Christmas, written with Bill Murray and Mitch Glazer.