During the press conference, Jonah Hauer-King was asked about his favorite new addition to the live-action version of “The Little Mermaid.” He said: 

“Friendship, I think. Disney romances are always, they’re filled with that instinctive attraction to one another. We all want to see that, but I think what was fun about this, and I think a lot of it came from our off-screen selves as well, was looking at Ariel and Eric as two people who were kindred spirits, who felt a little bit restless, who felt like they were behind the four walls of their respective castles and were very much looking outwards and not in. 

“And I think what was nice about that was that it meant that their relationship feels really earned. They both felt like they were teaching each other things. They were excited and fascinated by each other’s world although they didn’t actually know it until the end.”

He added that it was “really lovely” that this relationship is “ultimately tied to friendship” and said that it was why it would be a lasting one. Having seen a screening of the film, the friendship elements were far clearer than they were in the animated version. It had more of the feel of people getting to know each other and enjoying each other’s company than two people who think the other is very, very pretty. (To be fair, they are both very, very pretty.)