In 2014, Disney made a huge bargain with Maleficent, a live-action version of Sleeping Beauty with Hollywood superstar Angelina Jolie. The film became a huge hit in the box office and further served as the go signal for the studio to continue their string of live-action remakes. The films that followed, including Beauty and the Beast, Cinderella, and The Jungle Book, would go on to draw in equally large audience. Disney will soon be moving on with The Lion King remake in 2019. Here are the confirmed cast so far.
The Lion King Remake: Official Cast Members Announced
The original Lion King was released in 1994. It made history by becoming one of the biggest animated films of all time and grossed a record-breaking $968.8 million (without inflation rates applied) at the box office. For the remake, Disney tapped Jon Favreau to direct the film. The highly anticipated movie is set to use the same technology used in Favreau’s previous Disney project, The Jungle Book.
As of this writing, Favreau has only confirmed two lead stars on his official Twitter account namely Donald Glover and James Earl Jones; the rest on the list are reports from The Hollywood Reporter.
Donald Glover as Simba
Atlanta star Donald Glover was confirmed on Twitter by director Jon Favreau to play Simba, the young lion prince who makes it his mission to take back the Pride Lands. Aside from acting, Glover is a singer and rapper under the stage name Childish Gambino. This is not the first Disney project under his belt. He recently starred in Spider-Man: Homecoming and is set to play a young Lando Calrissian for the upcoming Han Solo film.
James Earl Jones as Mufasa
James Earl Jones is the only actor from the original film confirmed to reprise his role. Jones will be once again voicing Mufasa, Simba’s father and the King of the Pride Lands.
Beyoncé as Nala
Pop star and actress Beyoncé is actually Favreau’s top choice to play Nala, although there hasn’t been any confirmation from both parties yet. According to insiders, the singer has not made up her mind since she recently gave birth to twins. But considering that the role requires only voice acting, looks like Beyoncé might be on board!
Alfre Woodard as Sarabi
The Hollywood Reporter revealed that Luke Cage and 12 Years a Slave actress Alfre Woodard will be voicing Sarabi, Simba’s mother.
John Kani as Rafiki
Captain America actor John Kani is currently in talks to play Rafiki, the wise mandrill who gives Simba and Mufasa spiritual advice.
Chiwetel Ejiofor as Scar
Chiwetel Ejiofor, who received an Oscar nomination for his lead role in 12 Years a Slave, is in talks of replacing Jeremy Irons for the character of Scar. Scar is the traitorous villain in The Lion King. Should the actor take the role, the project will serve as Ejiofor’s second project with Disney. He previously starred as the villain Karl Mordo in Doctor Strange.
John Oliver as Zazu
Last Week Tonight host John Oliver has joined the cast of The Lion King remake as Zazu.
Billy Eichner as Timon and Seth Rogen as Pumba
Billy Eichner recently won a Daytime Emmy award for his show Billy on the Street. He currently stars in the Hulu series Difficult People and guest-starred on Parks and Recreation and The Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt. According to the Hollywood Reporter, Eichner has already signed on to play the meerkat Timon.
The Lion King remake will not be comedian Seth Rogen‘s first animated film. He has voiced animated characters in several films before, including Monsters vs. Aliens, Kung Fu Panda, and the R-18 movie Sausage Party. Rogen will be bringing his iconic husky voice to play Pumba, Timon’s faithful friend.
While the upcoming film continues to ignite a wave of anticipation, Disney announced that they will be bringing The Lion King back to Blu-ray with special features as part of its Signature Collection. The release date for the remastered film will be on August 29. As for Favreau’s remake, it is slated for a July 2019 release.