Two months ago, producer Brian Grazer revealed for the first time that he's working on a new remake of his 1984 classic Splash. The producer teased in an interview that the story will be told from a different point of view, and that there is already a major movie star attached to the project. Today we have word that the movie star in question is Channing Tatum, who will play a male mermaid in this gender-swapped remake alongside Jillian Bell.
Deadline reports that Jillian Bell came up with the idea for this pitch, with Disney hiring Marja Lewis-Ryan to write the script. She most recently wrapped production on Liked, which she wrote and directed, which was produced by Timur Bekmambetov. She also wrote Unsupervised, an HBO pilot which Channing Tatum is producing through his Free Association company.
Ron Howard, who directed the original Splash, will produce with his Imagine Entertainment partner Brian Grazer. During Brian Grazer's interview earlier this year, he spoke about his original take on the first movie, which he received a story credit on, and was originally entitled Wet. That version of the story was told completely through the mermaid's perspective, and he teased in the interview that this remake will be a "version" of that take, but with a twist, which we know is that the mermaid will actually be a man.
Imagine's Ron Howard and Brian Grazer will produce alongside Channing Tatum and his Free Association partners Reid Carolin and Peter Kieran, with Imagine's Anna Culp serving as executive producer. Interestingly enough, Imagine Entertainment acquired a script back in 2009 entitled Merman, written by Jennifer Abu Hollander and Jeff Moskowitz. That story follows a merman who comes to land to track down his mermaid fiancee, after she falls for a human man. We don't know for sure if any elements of that script will be used for this Splash remake.
Both Channing Tatum and Jillian Bell had worked together on 22 Jump Street. Channing Tatum will start filming Gambit later this year, and he also has roles in Kingsman: The Golden Circle, The Son, The Forever War, The Contortionist's Handbook and the crossover MIB 23. Jillian Bell stars in the hit Comedy Central series Workaholics, and she will next be seen in Rock That Body, Office Christmas Party and Fist Fight.