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‘Little Mermaid’ star Jacob Tremblay defends Flounder's live-action look

The 16-year-old responded to fans who called his character's more realistic appearance "terrifying."
/ Source: TODAY

Jacob Tremblay knows some "Little Mermaid" fans are taking issue with Flounder's new look in Disney's new live-action remake — and he wants everyone to chill out.

The 16-year-old actor, who provides the voice for Ariel's BFF in the new movie, told The Hollywood Reporter at the film's premiere on May 8 that he thinks Flounder's updated appearance — which looks more like a real fish than his colorfully cute 1989 predecessor did — works "perfectly."

Jacob Tremblay
Tremblay, pictured here at the "The Little Mermaid" premiere in Los Angeles on May 8, said fans should see the movie before they criticize characters' appearances. Jesse Grant / Getty Images for Disney

Tremblay revealed that he first saw a glimpse of the new Flounder several years ago while auditioning for the part.

"I thought it was really cool because I like how they’re doing it to make them look like real animals," he said, referring to other characters in the movie. Scuttle looks like a northern gannet diving bird; Sebastian looks like a crab.

Jacob Tremblay as Flounder in The Little Mermaid.
Jacob Tremblay as Flounder in "The Little Mermaid."Disney

“In rehearsals too I had seen the other characters’ designs and thought it was really cool, and then I finally got to see the movie last night and I thought they worked really well.

"I couldn’t really imagine it a different way, if that makes sense. I think it worked perfectly; they were really smart about it," he added.

The Canadian "Room" star's comments come less than two weeks after online fans blasted Flounder's new realistic look — as well as those of several of the movie's other characters — after Disney unveiled their images in promo photos and a trailer.

While some concluded the fish was “cute," less positive adjectives came to mind for others: “I’ll say it: a realistic little mermaid should have never happened. i don’t want to see real fish like this talking. i’m already terrified.”

Little Mermaid, 1989
Ariel, Flounder and their friends in Disney's 1989 animated classic "The Little Mermaid."Alamy

“All of Ariel’s adorable sea life friends look hideous cause they aren’t cute cartoon fish anymore,” someone wrote.

Tremblay told The Hollywood Reporter he wants fans to hold their criticism until after they experience the new movie for themselves. “I think people should see the movie, and then they can judge,” he said.

In addition to voicing Flounder, Tremblay also makes his singing debut in the movie, which has taken four years to hit theaters.

The teen revealed he was very “very, very nervous” about singing professionally. "But luckily, younger 12-year-old Jacob’s voice was a lot smoother than this, a lot less voice cracks," he noted. "I managed to pull it off, and it was really exciting and I was very happy."

"The Little Mermaid" swims to theaters on May 26.