Disney’s live-action remake of The Little Mermaid already has Hamilton creator Lin-Manuel Miranda on board as a producer and writer of new songs, but now Miranda will be writing for one of his original Hamilton cast members. Daveed Diggs, who broke out in the dual roles of Thomas Jefferson/Marquis de Lafayette in Miranda’s mega-hit Broadway musical, has been cast as Sebastian in the new remake. I’m guessing “Under the Sea” is going to involve a rap breakdown in this version.
Variety has the news about Diggs joining the cast, which already includes Halle Bailey as Ariel, the mermaid princess who yearns for a life above the ocean; Melissa McCarthy as the evil Ursula, who tricks Ariel into giving up her voice in exchange for a pair of human legs; and Javier Bardem, who is still in talks to play Ariel’s father, the strict King Triton.
In the 1989 animated film, Sebastian was a Jamaican-accented crab who worked for Triton as the kingdom’s royal composer. As Ariel spins off into her adventure, Sebastian tags along to try to keep her out of trouble, singing two of the film’s most famous songs in the process: the full-fledged banger “Under the Sea,” and the sultry ballad “Kiss the Girl.”
Diggs, a talented musician with a knack for delivering wicked fast raps, catapulted from his Grammy and Tony Award-winning Hamilton fame to co-write and star in one of last year’s most acclaimed indie films, Blindspotting. He’s also appeared on shows like The Get Down, black-ish, Undone, and more. Putting aside the fact that these live-action Disney remakes are almost never great at best, they’re better than expected; at worst, they’re creatively bankrupt, I must reluctantly admit that Diggs is a pretty great choice to play a new Sebastian. Reuniting with Miranda may result in some magical new songs, but even without the musical component, he has the versatility to be able to slide into this role with ease. I just wonder if Disney finds themselves interested in taking any big swings with these live-action remakes in terms of ering the story to make things more contemporary, or if they’re always going to be content with making incremental changes that often don’t amount to much.
Rob MarshallMary Poppins Returns, Into the Woods is directing this film, which frankly doesn’t give me a lot of hope for it. But maybe writer David MageeLife of Pi, Finding Neverland is interested in changing things up a bit, and I guess if all else fails, at least the musical numbers featuring songs from the 1989 classic, as well as those new tunes from Alan Menken and Lin-Manuel Miranda could be worth watching on a plane one day.
Filming on the new remake is expected to begin sometime in 2020.
ABC's Little Mermaid Live has found its Prince Eric.
Graham Philips The Good Wife, Broadway's 13 will play the prince in the live production, opposite Moana star Auli'i Cravalho as Ariel. John Stamos has also joined the cast, playing Chef Louis.
The cast also includes Queen Latifah as villain Ursula and Shaggy as Sebastian the crab.
The Little Mermaid Live, which will air under the Wonderful World of Disney banner, will be a hybrid performance, featuring live performances from the the cast interwoven into a broadcast of the 1989 animated film. The live portion will feature intricate sets and costumes by Emmy winner Zaldy RuPaul's Drag Race and music from both the movie and a Broadway musical based on the film.
Stamos previously played Chef Louis in a Hollywood Bowl production of The Little Mermaid. The actor's stage credits also include The Best Man, Nine and Cabaret.
Phillips has also appeared on stage in The Little Prince, A Christmas Carol: The Musical and The Ten Commandments: The Musical. In addition to The Good Wife, he has recurred on Riverdale and Netflix's Atypical.
Set to air Nov. 5, The Little Mermaid Live is produced by Done+Dusted. The company's Hamish Hamilton who's also directing, Katy Mullan, David Jammy, Raj Kapoor and Ian Stewart executive produce along with Richard Kraft, producer and director of the Hollywood Bowl productions of The Little Mermaid and Beauty and the Beast.
Disney is also producing a live-action/CGI version of the story as a feature film, with Halle Bailey set to play Ariel.
Harry Styles turned down Disney's the Little Mermaid remake to focus on his music. Reports started to surface in July that he was in talks to take on the role of Prince Eric. However, it was later revealed he declined the role.
Both the studio and Harry Styles have been quiet about the matter, but it is believed that there is no ill will on either side. Styles had this to say about the possible casting.
"It was discussed... I want to put music out and focus on that for a while. But everyone involved in it was amazing, so I think it's going to be great. I'll enjoy watching it, I'm sure."
While Harry Styles didn't want to go into details about The Little Mermaid remake casting news, he was more than willing to talk about a role that he didn't get. The actor/musician was in the running to play Elvis Presley in the upcoming Baz Luhrmann-directed biopic, but the role ended up going to Austin Butler. While he obviously wanted the role, he wasn't too bummed out when it went to Butler. He explains.
Related: Disney's Little Mermaid Remake Wants Javier Bardem as King Triton?
"Elvis was such an icon for me growing up. There was something almost sacred about him, almost like I didn't want to touch him. Then I ended up getting into his life a bit and I wasn't disappointed... I feel like if I'm not the right person for the thing, then it's best for both of us that I don't do it, you know?"
Harry Styles shocked millions of One Direction fans when he decided to leave the group. He launched into a solo record that took a big left turn from what his fans were used to. Instead of going straight for sugary pop music, Styles ventured into the world of early 70s West Coast rock and decided not to tour on the album right away. In the end, the gamble paid off, as the record sold over 1 million copies. It was during this time that he took his first big acting role, signing on to play a British soldier in Christopher Nolan's Dunkirk.
Legendary rock musician Elton John loves how Harry Styles "takes chances and risks," and was very happy with his performance in Dunkirk. After leaving One Direction, John urged Styles to "diversify," which he took to heart. The actor/musician's career is pretty much open for him to do whatever he wants at this point in time. He had this to say when asked about his urge to keep acting.
"Why do I want to act? It's so different to music for me. They're almost opposite for me. Music, you try and put so much of yourself into it; acting, you're trying to totally disappear in whoever you're being."
Harry Styles will show up on the big screen at some point down the line but not in an upcoming Disney movie. It seems like it is time to focus some more on the music side of things. His latest record is complete and he's preparing to release a single. According to Fleetwood Mac's Stevie Nicks, it's unlike anything Styles has ever done. Nicks, who is a friend of the young artist, says the new album is "spectacular." The interview with Harry Styles was originally conducted by The Face.
Harry Styles declined playing Prince Eric in Disney's upcoming remake of The Little Mermaid. Now, another contender has risen to the surface in 13 Reasons Why star Christian Navarro. He threw his hat into the ring on Twitter saying this shortly after Harry Styles announced he wouldn't be taking the role.
"So I heard Harry Styles passed on Prince Eric, well...I can sing. Black Ariel/Latino Prince...no ones called but Season 3 drops next week and I think it's one hell of an audition."
The actor tagged Disney Studios and Melissa McCarthy in his original Tweet. McCarthy has long been tied to the role of Ursula, but has never been officially confirmed. Someone at Disney was listening, as they reached out to Christian Navarro, and the young up-and-comer has auditioned for the studio. He offers this in a follow-up post.
Related: Disney's Little Mermaid Remake Wants Harry Styles as Prince Eric?
"Idk what happened to the other tweet. But! @disney saw this, saw your support, and gave my team a call. They wanted to see what I could do. Tapes sent. Fingers crossed. Let's make some history. #iloveyou3000 #PrinceEric."
Most actors don't make it widely known on social media when they are auditioning for such a hugely coveted role as Prince Eric in a live-action Disney remake. Disney may have okayed this shout out to get a feel from fans on how they'd accept Navarro as one of their most iconic characters. Christopher Daniel Barnes, who appeared in The Brady Bunch movies as Greg Brady, did the original voice for Prince Eric.
The only actor 100% confirmed for The Little Mermaid is Halle Bailey in the lead role of Ariel. The casting announcement caught some fans off guard, but most have been excepting of this switch for the character, with an actress of color playing the mermaid. Melissa McCarthy has long been rumored to play Ursula, though Disney didn't confirm any further casting news at the D23 Expo last weekend. Also rumored but not officially confirmed are Jacob Tremblay as Flounder and Awkwafina as Scuttle. Javier Bardem is also rumored to play King Triton.
It's not yet clear when Disney will make the formal casting announcement. And we're not sure Christian Navarro will be a part of that announcement when it arrives. But it appears that he's putting in the leg work for the role. If you want to see the guy take on Prince Eric, now would be a good time to make your voices heard. Disney is definitely listening and awaits any social media input on the subject. What do you think? Is Christian Navarro the right Prince for the job?
Idk what happened to the other tweet. But! @disney saw this, saw your support, and gave my team a call. They wanted to see what I could do. Tapes sent. Fingers crossed. Let’s make some history. #iloveyou3000#PrinceEric#TheLittleMermaidhttps://t.co/192ZTsfqyH
— Christian Navarro @ChristianLN0821 September 3, 2019
Right before the Fourth of July, Disney announced the casting of Ariel in their upcoming live-action remake of The Little Mermaid. The extensive search process ended with Halle Bailey not Halle Berry, one of the Grown-ish stars and half of the Chloe x Halle R&B duo. At the time, Disney issued a statement that praised Bailey’s “rare combination of spirit, heart, youth, innocence, and substance,” but with the Internet being the Internet, some very vocal voices launched a #NotMyAriel hashtag over the casting of a black actress. This, of course, happened despite the fact that Ariel is not only a fictional mermaid but one created by Danish author Hans Christian Andersen. Disney’s Freeform cable network issued another statement to both effects, noting that “Danish mermaids can be black because Danish *people* can be black.”
Well, Will Smith’s blue genie in Aladdin drew plenty of attention, but the Ariel-based backlash is a whole other ballgame. Bailey remained silent on the matter for a month, but while speaking with Variety, it’s clear that she’s staying positive:
“I feel like I’m dreaming and I’m just grateful and I don’t pay attention to the negativity. I just feel like this role was something bigger than me and greater and it’s going to be beautiful. I’m just so excited to be a part of it.”
It’s also notable that Alyssa Milano, who previously revealed that the animated version of Ariel was based upon how she looked during childhood, has lauded Bailey as “a brilliant choice” to play the live-action character.
Halle Bailey is a brilliant choice to play Ariel. I can’t wait for this.
Halle Bailey was just cast as Princess Ariel in Baz Luhrmann’s film adaptation of The Little Mermaid, but it looks like she’s got some competition.
ABC has announced that they’ll be putting on their own live TV musical adaptation of The Little Mermaid. Auli’i Cravalho, who played Moana in the Disney film of the same name, has been cast as Ariel. Queen Latifah will be playing Ursula, and Shaggy yes, “It Wasn’t Me” Shaggy will be playing Sebastian, with additional cast to be announced at a later date.
In addition to her rap career, Latifah also has a decades-long career in comedy films. Her last movie, Girls Trip, was released in 2017. Shaggy appeared in the 2018 Netflix film Game Over, Man!, and released a record, Wah Gwaan?!, earlier this year.
The live musical event, set to air November 5 as part of “The Wonderful World of Disney” franchise, looks like it will be structured a little differently than some of network television’s more recent musical broadcasts, including FOX’s Grease Live and NBC’s Hairspray Live. According to The Hollywood Reporter, The Little Mermaid event will feature live performances interwoven into the broadcast of the original animated film.
The news comes as Disney is gearing up for its own live-action adaptation of the original animated film. The only official announcement so far has been Bailey’s casting as Ariel, but Melissa McCarthy, Harry Styles, and Jacob Tremblay have also been rumored to be considering roles in the film.
The Wonderful World Of Disney Presents The Little Mermaid Live! will air November 5 on ABC.