The Little Mermaid Star Defends Flounder’s Controversial Redesign

Flounder in The Little Mermaid remake

The Little Mermaid star Jacob Tremblay recently defended Flounder’s controversial redesign in the upcoming Disney remake.

Tremblay stood by the tropical fish’s slimmer, more photorealistic look in an interview with Variety. “I actually was shown the design [for Flounder] when I went in for my audition,” he said. “[Director] Rob [Marshall] had shown me, and I just had complete faith in Rob. I thought it looked great, because that was, like, the puppet they had on set. And then, of course, when I went and saw the film — I watched it last night — and I think it just all works so well. I couldn’t imagine it looking different. I just think that they were geniuses and they made it work so well.”


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Disney fans have debated the merits of Flounder’s redesign in the live-action Little Mermaid remake ever since images of it first surfaced online. The discourse surrounding the photo-real version of Flounder intensified in April 2023, after high-resolution artwork of the character was included in a series of posters Disney shared on Twitter. These posters also gave Disney devotees a better look at secondary antagonists Flotsam and Jetsam, with the sinister moray eels sporting a similarly overhauled aesthetic. By contrast, protagonist Ariel (Halle Bailey) and main villain Ursula (Melissa McCarthy) look almost identical to their counterparts in the original 1989 movie.

The Little Mermaid Remake’s Revised Lyrics

The Little Mermaid boasts more than just character design changes, too. The hotly-anticipated remake also features revised versions of two songs from its animated predecessor, “Kiss the Girl” and “Poor Unfortunate Souls,” with the lyrics of both being tweaked to reflect more modern standards. “We asked [lyricist] Lin-Manuel [Miranda] to make some slight adjustments to the original lyrics for ‘Kiss the Girl,'” Marshall said in a recent Disney press release. “Because it’s important to remember that the culture and sensitivities have changed over the last 34 years, and it’s vital that we are respectful to those changes.”

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The remake will also include three new songs by Miranda and composer Alan Menken: “Wild Uncharted Waters,” “The Scuttlebutt” and “For the First Time.” These additional tunes are presumably partly responsible for The Little Mermaid‘s runtime, which clocks in at almost an hour longer than its 1989 source material. That said, the 2023 version of The Little Mermaid was almost even longer, as Menken revealed in a recent interview that a fourth original song, “Impossible Child,” was axed during the editing process.

The Little Mermaid arrives in theaters on May 26, 2023.

Source: Variety, via Twitter


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