Last month, it was reported that Styles was in talks to play Princess Ariel's love interest in the upcoming Disney remake

By Joelle Goldstein Melody Chiu
August 13, 2019 08:03 PM

Harry Styles won’t be going under the sea, after all.

Despite being in talks to play Prince Eric in Disney’s live-action remake of The Little Mermaid for over a month, Styles has officially turned down the offer, PEOPLE confirms.

“While he is a fan of the project, he has respectfully declined the offer,” a source close to the film tells PEOPLE.

Disney has not commented on who is being considered to play the handsome prince.

News that Styles may be appearing as Princess Ariel’s love interest initially surfaced in July, shortly after R&B singer Halle Bailey, 19, was officially cast as the leading mermaid.

Harry Styles (and Prince Eric
Dia Dipasupil/FilmMagic; Disney

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“I think anybody could do a wonderful job with the role,” Bailey told PEOPLE when asked about the English singer joining her. “I’m so blessed to be a part of such a beautiful project.”

The role of Prince Eric would have been Styles’ second major acting gig.

His only role came in 2017’s Dunkirk, Christopher Nolan’s epic WWII thriller. The performer had a bulk of the lines in the otherwise dialogue-light film, which also starred Kenneth Branagh, Mark Rylance, Tom Hardy, and Fionn Whitehead.

He also recently screen-tested for the role of Elvis Presley in Baz Luhrmann’s upcoming biopic, but the singer lost out on the role to Austin Butler.

Besides acting, Styles was famously part of One Direction before the boy band went on hiatus in early 2016. He then embarked on a successful solo career.

Harry Styles
Emma McIntyre/Getty Images

RELATED: Disney’s Original Ariel Reacts to Halle Bailey Being Cast in Live-Action The Little Mermaid

Production for The Little Mermaid is anticipated to begin in early 2020.

The film has already been getting plenty of attention — both good and bad — as shortly after Disney announced its casting of Bailey as Ariel in July, some internet commenters lashed out against the idea of a black woman in the role.

Bailey later addressed those comments in an interview with Variety and made it clear that she was not letting other people’s opinions get to her.

“I feel like I’m dreaming and I’m just grateful and I don’t pay attention to the negativity,” she told the outlet. “I just feel like this role was something bigger than me and greater and it’s going to be beautiful. I’m just so excited to be a part of it.”

Fans and stars were also quick to rally behind the choice, including Jodie Benson — the original voice of Ariel in the 1989 animated classic — who argued at Florida Supercon in July that “the most important thing is to tell the story.”

Halle Bailey and Princess Ariel
Leon Bennett/Getty; Walt Disney/Everett

Besides Bailey, Awkwafina and Jacob Tremblay are in talks to star in the film as Scuttle and Flounder, respectively, while Melissa McCarthy is reportedly near a deal to play the voice-stealing villain Ursula.

Alan Menken, who wrote the score to the original 1989 animated film, will return to the remake and create new music alongside Tony Award winner Lin-Manuel Miranda, who worked with Marshall on Mary Poppins Returns.

Miranda previously worked with Disney on 2016’s Moana, which he fully composed.

The Wrap was the first to report the news of Styles’ decision.

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