In addition to being super psyched about Halle Bailey playing Ariel in the live-action remake of The Little Mermaid, we’re very excited about Daveed Diggs bringing the role of Sebastian to life. Fans will recall that in the animated film, Sebastian is Ariel’s sidekick, but also King Triton’s confidant and advisor — and being caught in the middle proves very difficult for the Jamaican crab.
In a recent interview, the Soul actor opened up about taking on the lively role. “I worked harder on Sebastian probably than I have for any role in my life,” he told Collider. “It’s tricky… I tend to say ‘yes’ to things when I feel like I can do it, but I’m actually not sure I’m the smart choice or the person naturally who should be doing it. That’s true of Sebastian, for a lot of ways that are uncomfortable.”
Speaking on his accent work, he explained “I’m not of Caribbean descent, doing that kind of work and trying to immerse myself. I’ve spent a lot of time in Trinidad and I went to Jamaica to research, and I did a lot of voice work with Chris Walker and with the late Tony Hall, to try to get the voice right. But more than the voice, the thing about a dialect is that everybody’s voice is actually very different, so consistency is really more important than accuracy. Your speech pattern is based on culture, and that was the thing I didn’t wanna let down.”
He’s got our vote of confidence and, according to Diggs, fans are in for some pretty cool surprises…
“[Being part of The Little Mermaid is] pretty cool. Working in the animation space is always pretty cool. I love that stuff. But something as big as Disney’s The Little Mermaid – and I felt this on Soul too, just because of Pixar, particularly for us from the Bay Area because it’s right there and it has this element of mystery about it – just to even get to be behind the scenes on those things is pretty wild,” he continued. “You get to hear a new song before it comes out and it’s amazing, and then you hear the performance of it by an actor you might not expect to be able to do that and that’s also amazing. There are so many cool surprises that I know and I’m just sitting on.”
Stay tuned for more updates on The Little Mermaid as they surface.