The Little Mermaid – Jacob Tremblay Reveals His Process For Embodying a Fan Favorite Character of a Movie Released Before He Was Born

The Little Mermaid star Jacob Tremblay talks about voicing Flounder in the live-action film.

We are two weeks away from the release of The Little Mermaid in theaters, and after hosting the world premiere for the film this past week, Disney held the press conference for the film with many media outlets attending, including The Illuminerdi. Moderated by Entertainment Tonight’s Michelle Turner, members of the cast and crew answered questions about the making of the film and their respective characters.

A member of the cast that made an impression during the red carpet for the premiere was Jacob Tremblay, the 16-year-old kid that had the world at his feet back in 2015 with his stellar performance in Lenny Abrahamson’s Room. Tremblay has now grown into a young adult, but that was not the case when he recorded his lines as Flounder in the film, leading to this viral post on Twitter.

The Little Mermaid Came Out Before He Was Born

Jacob Tremblay recording lines for Flounder in The Little Mermaid
Jacob Tremblay behind the scenes at a voice recording session of Disney’s live-action THE LITTLE MERMAID. Photo by Giles Keyte. © 2023 Disney Enterprises, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

The actor’s age was a topic of conversation during the press conference, and he was asked about what it was like for him to play an iconic character from a movie that was released well before he was born (an interesting question given that the movie’s lead, Halle Bailey, was born 11 years after The Little Mermaid first hit theaters). Here is the conversation:

MICHELLE TURNER: Jacob, you know, this, this original movie came out before you were born.

JACOB TREMBLAY: Yeah, it did!

DAVEED DIGGS: Stop bragging Jacob!


MICHELLE TURNER: Were you familiar with Flounder or did you go back and like, watch the film multiple times?

JACOB TREMBLAY: Yeah, I think, just because it came out quite some time before I was born.



MELISSA MCCARTHY: He’s dating us all!

JONAH HAUER-KING: Years and years.

JACOB TREMBLAY: Yeah, no, I don’t not knowing about the movie and not knowing the characters. So it was cool, because obviously it’s still a big part of my childhood. And I love the film. But yeah, I did definitely watch it quite a few times before going to film, because I did want to make sure that when people watched the film, they felt like it was flounder, because obviously, there’s a lot of things that I had to embody.

I guess his, his anxiety, anxiousness, but at the same time I wanted to make sure I made it my own, and I think that’s when having everyone there really really came in just being able to riff off each other.

The Little Mermaid Press Conference

RELATED: The Little Mermaid’s Halle Bailey Shares The Valuable Lessons She’s Learned From Ariel

The Little Mermaid and the Younger Generations

Halle Bailey as Ariel in Disney’s live-action THE LITTLE MERMAID. Photo courtesy of Disney. © 2023 Disney Enterprises, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

As much as the “adults” in the room might like to make innocuous fun of Tremblay’s age, and even Bailey’s, for that matter, the truth is that a good chunk of the people that will be getting in line to see the film also weren’t born when the original came out. Even if we put aside nostalgic teenagers and young adults who want to see Ariel in live-action, there will be tons of families who show up en masse with their kids, and that’s who Disney is targeting with the movie.

And this also applies to the nonsense chatter about Bailey’s race that’s been going on for four years; the worst thing that could happen is to engage with it and try to rationalize with the three lonely souls who complain online about the skin color of a mermaid.

The truth is that if the movie is good, and the audience reacts well to it, there’s more than enough precedent to show that it will be a hit at the box office, because the people that are driving these films into the billion-dollar territory come from the most diverse and open-minded generations ever. Now the movie has to be good, and for that, we can’t really account for yet.

The Little Mermaid release exclusively in theaters on May 26, 2023.

About The Little Mermaid


Release date: May 26, 2023 (USA)
Director: Rob Marshall
Producers: Marc Platt, Lin-Manuel Miranda, John DeLuca, Rob Marshall
Executive Producer: Jeffrey Silver
Adapted from: The Little Mermaid
Music by: Alan Menken
Production companies: Walt Disney Pictures; DeLuca Marshall; Marc Platt Productions
Distributed by: Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures
Cast: Halle Bailey, Jonah Hauer-King, Daveed Diggs, Awkwafina, Jacob Tremblay, Noma Dumezweni, Art Malik, with Javier Bardem and Melissa McCarthy

“The Little Mermaid” is the beloved story of Ariel, a beautiful and spirited young mermaid with a thirst for adventure. The youngest of King Triton’s daughters and the most defiant, Ariel longs to find out more about the world beyond the sea and, while visiting the surface, falls for the dashing Prince Eric. While mermaids are forbidden to interact with humans, Ariel must follow her heart. She makes a deal with the evil sea witch, Ursula, which gives her a chance to experience life on land but ultimately places her life – and her father’s crown – in jeopardy.

What did you think about Tremblay’s comments? How excited are you about The Little Mermaid? Are you a fan of the original? Let us know your thoughts on our social media, and stay tuned for more from the press conference!

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