Daveed Diggs Dishes On Playing Sebastian
Diggs lends his talents to the world’s favorite singing crab…
I mean, how hard could it be? Sebastian is a talking crab.
And here is a guy who has appeared in Hamilton and Snowpiercer.
But, when Collider sat down with Daveed Diggs about his upcoming part in the live-action remake of The Little Mermaid, we learned just how difficult it is to step into the role (shell) of an iconic animated character.
Diggs told Collider’s Christina Radish, “I worked harder on Sebastian probably than I have for any role in my life.
“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.
“Your speech pattern is based on culture, and that was the thing I didn’t wanna let down,” he added.
First off, Samuel E. Wright played the voice of the crafty crustacean in 1989’s animated classic.
And, of course, he won an academy award for singing, “Under the Sea.”
However, Diggs is no understudy. He earned Tony and Grammy honors while performing in Hamilton.
But Daveed understands just how important his portrayal of Sebastian is to so many.
“I want somebody who is from Trinidad or from Jamaica, depending on where we landed with the role, to be able to see themselves in this, in some way,” said Diggs to Collider. “Even though maybe my voice doesn’t sound exactly right, I wanted to feel like somebody connected to it.
“I had so many friends growing up for whom Sebastian was the first time they had seen themselves represented in mainstream American culture,” he continued. “As flawed as that is, that’s still important.
“So, that role stressed me out quite a bit, but also is incredibly fun.”