Industry News: You Won’t Believe Who’s Playing Mermaid in Splash Remake

tatum splashThis is literally “click bait,” right?

Roger Ebert famously suggested that Tom Hanks and John Candy, who played brothers in the 1984 man-meets-mermaid film Splash should have switched roles. The critic thought Ron Howard’s comedy might have been even funnier with the portly actor as protagonist in the fish-out-of-water flick. Daryl Hannah played the mermaid in a role that launched her career. But now in a casting coup that nobody saw coming, Disney is remaking Splash, and the mermaid will be played by none other than Channing Tatum, according to The Hollywood Reporter. Will the charismatic leading man have another Magic Mike blockbuster on his hands or another Jupiter Ascending? Tatum will play a “merman” opposite Jillian Bell, who co-starred with him in 22 Jump Street. The story, if you recall, involves a youngster saved by a mermaid on a family vacation. The mermaid returns 20 years later with the intriguing option of continuing life on land or a love affair under the sea. The 1984 film was actually nominated for an Academy Award for best original screenplay. The remake’s screenwriter Marja-Lewis Ryan, is responsible for the HBO pilot Unsupervised and a Netflix film 6 Balloons. She has also adapted Lean In, Sheryl Sandberg’s book, for a film. No director is attached to the film yet. The first Splash was the first movie under the Touchstone Films label for Disney, teasing a more adult-friendly line of comedies that ultimately included a variety of iconic 1980’s comedies such as Down and Out in Beverly Hills, Ruthless People and Outrageous Fortune. Expect the new film – also produced by Disney and Ron Howard’s Imagine Films – in 2017 or 2018. Tatum first has to wrap filming Steven Soderbergh’s Logan Lucky and the long-gestating Gambit and face what will most assuredly not be the same reverse-gender casting controversies that plagued the new Ghostbusters.

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I've reviewed films for more than 20 years. Current movie reviews of new theatrical releases and direct-to-video or streaming films are added weekly to the Silver Screen Capture movie news site. Many capsule critiques originally appeared in expanded form in my syndicated Lights Camera Reaction column.

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