Daveed Diggs on Playing Sebastian in ‘The Little Mermaid’
In an exclusive interview with Collider, actor Daveed Diggs, who plays Sebastian in the live-action remake of The Little Mermaid, talked about his experiences working on the film.
Diggs, who appeared in the original Broadway production of Hamilton, says this about preparing for the role.
“I worked harder on Sebastian probably than I have for any role in my life. It’s tricky. I wasn’t sure, and this is also true of Layton. 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. 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 also spoke about working alongside Halle Bailey as Ariel:
“…And the amount of lifting I’m doing in that is nothing compared to Halle [Bailey], or any of the like incredible performers who are really carrying that. I just sing a couple of cool songs and call it a day.”
It is clear from this interview that he is as excited as anybody for this film, saying:
“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.”
Directed by Rob Marshall, The Little Mermaid stars Halle Bailey as Ariel. The film will feature the original music by Alan Menken in addition to new songs co-written by Lin-Manuel Miranda. The cast also includes Jonah Hauer-King as Prince Eric, Melissa McCarthy as Ursula, and Javier Bardem as King Triton. No release date for the film has been announced.