Disney is still a ways away from kicking up their planned live-action adaptation of their “inaugural” Disney Renaissance-period animated masterpiece “The Little Mermaid,” but that only means they still have time to fill out their main cast, which has already suffered a major offer turn-down for the male lead, and from a promising prospect to boot. At the moment, roles have been filled for main character Ariel, her antagonist Ursula, her fish companion Flounder and kooky “surface advisor” Scuttle. But the spots are still empty for the likes Prince Eric and Sebastian. At least the latter part now has a star in negotiations to play.
According to Entertainment Tonight, singer-actor-rapper Daveed Diggs has entered talks to portray Sebastian, the red crab royal musician in the court of King Triton of Atlantica for the live-action “Little Mermaid” remake from Disney. The prospect of bringing Diggs into production is resonant for several factors, both in terms of his experience, who he might be able to work with, and similarities to the casting for the “Little Mermaid Live!” musical special adaptation in “The Wonderful World of Disney” on ABC next month. In a number of ways, he is perfect to play the part.
For starters, Diggs already has quite the extensive experience in musical theatre, which would make him a good fit for “The Little Mermaid.” After all, Sebastian gets the plum musical number “Under the Sea” to sing. Among his stage credits is the dual role of Marquis de Lafayette and Thomas Jefferson on Lin-Manuel Miranda’s hit musical “Hamilton.” If Diggs is cast for the film he will get to work with Miranda again, as he is collaborating on the remake with original composer Alan Menken. Lastly, the singer-rapper as Sebastian will parallel the “Live!” casting on ABC of Jamaican musician Shaggy.
There are still some blanks on the cast of characters for Disney’s in-the-flesh revision of “The Little Mermaid,” but the confirmed names have already done much to generate attention. Daveed Diggs now stands a chance of joining R&B singer Halle Bailey as Ariel, comedienne Melissa McCarthy as Ursula, rapper Awkwafina as Scuttle (turned female from the 1989 original) and Jacob Tremblay as Flounder. The casting of Ariel’s one true love Prince Eric has proven a troublesome task after popular front runner Harry Styles of One Direction fame said no. Possible alternatives include Asher Angel (“Shazam!”) and Christian Navarro (“13 Reasons Why”). The movie begins filming summer next year for a yet-to-be-finalized release date in future.
Image courtesy of Variety