News 25th May 2023 by Lisa Mullaly
Javier Bardem Promises A Different Side To The King Of The Ocean In The Little Mermaid
“I knew it was gonna be beautifully done."
He has played a James Bond villain, a psychopathic killer and a pirate captain. Now, Javier Bardem will go under the sea to take on the infamous role of King Triton in the live-action reboot of Disney’s The Little Mermaid.
STELLAR sat down with the actor to hear all about how he landed the role and his experience of creating a modern version of the 1989 classic.
In fact, it was a simple as sending a text. Bardem says he messaged director Rob Marshall one morning over breakfast, saying: “If there is such a thing as King Triton with a Spanish accent I would love to be part of that.”
Four years later the actor is gracing our screens in chest armour, a royal crown and a trident in his hand.
Bardem says that when he told his daughter Luna that he might be in the new live-action film, she started to cry and asked: “Are you going to play Ariel?”
Although it would be amazing to see Bardem in a clamshell bikini, we think he might a little more suited to playing the role of the King of the Seven Seas.
But it’s one that is a daunting task, even for a former Bond villain. To embody the role of Triton, Javier remembered a very important acting lesson; “When you are a king, don’t act like a king”. This comes through in his relaxed and effortless performance of the almighty King, but is also just some great life advice.
Although he was given a real trident and crown, unfortunately, Triton’s majestic tail and flowing locks were just special effects. The majority of the film was created using green screens, rigs and special effects technology.
Despite being the King of the Ocean, Javier spent very little time in the water while shooting the movie. In fact, he only had one scene in there.
“Funnily enough that was the most challenging day of shooting,” Javier says. “[I trusted] the directors, their taste and how elegant they are. I knew it was gonna be beautifully done.”
This live-action adaption of The Little Mermaid follows the same storyline as the original but it also delves deeper into the different facets of King Tritons’ personality and further explores the relationship between the King and his daughter.
“He’s grumpy, he’s mad, he gets angry, but there is some pain inside, there is some fear. There is an insecurity of losing his daughter and not knowing how to help her. He learns through her to love better, to love her better,” Javier says.
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The movie really is a story of love in all of its forms.
Aside from the primary love story between Prince Eric and Ariel, director Marshall also wanted to highlight an important lesson in love between King Triton and his youngest daughter.
“Rob wanted to make it stronger, to finish the story with that which is the ultimate love,” says Javier.
The character of Triton is a brilliant mix of authority and tenderness. In this new version of the film, viewers will both sides of the King. But what they don’t get to see is the Mermaid King singing a rock opera song!
Alan Menken, the composer of both the live action and the original Little Mermaid movies, along with producer Lin Manuel Miranda created a brand new song for The King to sing. Unfortunately, this never made it into the final cut.
“It didn’t make it into the movie,” says Bardem. “And I understand why because the emotional journey of King Triton would have been way earlier in the movie if the song was placed where it has to be placed.”
Fortunately, the mysterious musical number will be added as an extra feature when the film is released on streaming platforms.
The Little Mermaid is coming to Irish cinemas on May 26.
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