With the classic white shirt, black hair and eyes the color of the sea, Prince Eric is one of the most charming Disney characters — if that wasn’t enough, he knows how to play the flute and has Max the dog as his best friend. And when he heard about the new live-action version of one of the studio’s most famous films, Jonah Hauer-King, a 28-year-old British actor, was willing to do anything to get the part — even if he had to lie.
“I’m terrified of heights and I’m very allergic to dogs,” the actor confessed during an interview with Dose of Society, an entertainment page. “So bringing Prince Eric to life when he’s 100 feet high all the time on a boat and his best friend is a dog named Max is not an ideal combination. But I managed to pass it, I lied on my CV and everything went well”, he joked, laughing.
In the film, Max is the prince’s faithful companion and is saved by him during the shipwreck that changes his life. The bigeye is also the first to have contact with Ariel, played by Halle Bailey, 23. Thanks to his five well-developed senses, the Labradoodle dog (mix between Labrador and Poodle) is able to perceive strange movement in the water and even receives petting from the mermaid.
Although the film has no shortage of animals, many were created using special effects. However, Max had the pleasure of being played by not one, but two acting dogs: Gary and Edna. The first was responsible for most of the scenes alongside the British actor.
“Gary is an amazing dog, it was the easiest training ever,” shared Jonah. “We had to do scuba diving and riding lessons, so training with him was by far the easiest. Having a dog by my side all day was great, it was probably my favorite part,” he added.
@disneyliv3actions Jonah (prince eric) talks about Max the dog at the London premiere of the little mermaid yesterday #liveactionremake #Ariel #disneymovie #princeeric #partofyourworld #TheLittleMermaid #hallebailey #fyp #littlemermaid #disneyprincess #disneyprince ♬ original sound – disneyliveactions
Gary, on the other hand, wasn’t the only four-legged star on the set. Halle Bailey took her feline companion, the cat Poseidon (curiously named after the king of the seas), to spend the days with the actors. The dog loved receiving parties from Javier Bardem, who plays King Triton, responsible for Atlantis and Ariel’s father.
The film is already available in Portuguese cinemas and last week it was revealed that the first scenes were recorded in Nazaré by Portuguese director Nuno Dias, 25, who was invited by Disney studios to participate in the feature film “Na Nazaré, we filmed the surfers a lot, the waves they catch and the so-called wipeouts, the moments when they fall”, the young man told RTP.
Click through the gallery to meet the four-legged stars behind the scenes of “The Little Mermaid”.
Gary with the tutors.