Hamilton star Daveed Diggs is in talks to play Sebastian the crab in Disney’s live-action remake of The Little Mermaid, Collider has confirmed.
Halle Bailey will star as Ariel, the mermaid princess who dreams of becoming human, while Melissa McCarthy is set to play her evil aunt, Ursula. Elsewhere, Jacob Tremblay and Awkwafina have closed deals to play Flounder and Scuttle, respectively, while Oscar winner Javier Bardem remains in talks to play Ariel’s father, King Triton. Finally, Deadline reports that Cameron Cuffe (Krypton) and Jonah Hauer-King are among those who recently tested for the role of Ariel’s love interest Prince Eric, which Harry Styles turned down over the summer.
Many had assumed that Lin-Manuel Miranda would voice Sebastian since he’s producing the movie, but as it turns out, the filmmakers felt that Diggs was better suited for the role, allowing Miranda to focus on his other Mermaid duties, which aren’t so “little.” He’s also writing new songs with original composer Alan Menken, though the live-action remake will from the animated classic, including Sebastian’s famous tune “Under the Sea.” The Jamaican character was voiced by Samuel E. Wright in the original 1989 movie.
Frankly, it would have been real easy for Miranda to cast himself, or lobbied Marshall to cast him, but I like that he’s creating opportunities for others. He has become a valuable member of the team at Disney, and I bet they find him something a lot cooler than Mary Poppins Returns to star in soon. I think he’s kind of perfect for the Star Wars universe, but then again, what do I know? Literally, with regards to that franchise!
Rob Marshall is directing The Little Mermaid from a script by David Magee, and he’s also producing alongside Marc Platt, John DeLuca and Miranda.
Diggs burst onto the spotlight with his breakout turn in Miranda’s hit musical Hamilton, which led to Blindspotting, an indie drama that Diggs wrote with co-star Rafael Casal. He most recently appeared in Dan Gilroy‘s satirical horror movie Velvet Buzzsaw, and he’ll soon be seen as Frederick Douglass in Showtime’s The Good Lord Bird. That limited series hails from director Albert Hughes, who just signed on to direct the true crime thriller North Hollywood for Stampede and AGC Studios.
Diggs, who also stars in the upcoming Snowpiercer TV series, is represented by WME and Brookside Artist Management. Variety broke the news of his casting.