Disney’s the Little Mermaid may have just found its Sebastian, as Daveed Diggs is reportedly in talks to play the role. Known primarily as the vocalist of the hip hop group Clipping, Diggs has also won both a Tony Award an a Grammy for his work in the musical Hamilton. Additionally, he has appeared in a recurring role on Black-ish and wrote and starred in the 2018 movie Blindspotting, which earned him a Best Male Lead nomination at the Independent Spirit Awards. He has also appeared in the Netflix movie Velvet Buzzsaw and has been cast as Frederick Douglass in the upcoming Showtime series The Good Lord Bird.
If cast, Daveed Diggs would join Halle x Chloe singer Halle Bailey as a part of the cast of The Little Mermaid. Other names reported to be in talks for certain roles include Melissa McCarthy as Ursula the sea-witch, Jacob Trembly as Flounder, and Awkwafina as Scuttle. Harry Styles, Cameron Cuffe, and Jonah Hauer-King have all also come up in the news as possible names in contention to play Prince Eric, but the role has yet to be officially cast. Additionally, Javier Bardem was reported to be in the running to play Ariel’s father, King Triton. As the project will reportedly start shooting this spring, the project should be officially finalizing more of its cast members in the near future.
Released in 1989, the animated version of The Little Mermaid tells the story of the mermaid princess Ariel. After falling in love with a human prince, Ariel makes a deal with Ursula the sea-witch for a chance to become human and pursue a relationship with him, but Ursula has a sinister and ulterior motive for helping her. The upcoming live-action remake will be directed by Rob Marshall using a screenplay by David Magee, incorporating songs from the original version while adding new tunes from Alan Menken and Lin-Manuel Miranda. Additionally, Miranda and Marshall are producing alongside Marc Platt and John Deluca.
As the lovable crab particularly known for leading the tune “Under the Sea,” Sebastian was originally voiced by Samuel E. Wright. Since the news of a live-action Little Remake was first announced, some fans had been holding out hope Wright would be able to reprise the role with his iconic and unforgettable voice. Diggs’ potential casting would put the kibosh on that idea, though Diggs would certainly bring a lot of talent of his own to the role. Wright’s inclusion would have undoubtedly been awesome, but there’s no reason to believe Diggs won’t do a fine job as well, given the acclaim he has already achieved both with acting and in music.
Interestingly enough, Sebastian will also be played by the reggae singer Shaggy in ABC’s upcoming production The Little Mermaid Live!, which premieres on Nov. 5. We’ll see if Diggs manages to finalize a deal to play the crab in the live-action movie, but the actor doesn’t appear to be a bad choice at all for the role. This news comes to us from Variety.