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Disney Announces Full Cast of Live-Action ‘The Lion King’

The studio continues to outdo itself with this cast list.
The Lion King
By  · Published on November 2nd, 2017

The studio continues to outdo itself with this cast list.

After the success of Disney’s live-action remake of The Jungle Book last year, the studio announced that it would once again join forces with director Jon Favreau to bring the Pride Lands of The Lion King to life. Yesterday, the full cast list of The Lion King was revealed along with a brand new synopsis, confirming the likes of Donald Glover as Simba and Beyoncé Knowles-Carter as Nala.

There is little doubt that such a stellar cast will bolster that age-old Hamlet-esque tale despite the fact that they’ll be voicing animals. The live-action version of The Lion King is likely to feed fan excitement over Disney’s recent run of successful live-action remakes. Like Favreau’s Jungle Book and Bill Condon’s Beauty and the BeastThe Lion King will be a mostly CG venture. Animated realism at its finest, really, if anyone is familiar with the finely detailed approaches that went into both The Jungle Book and Beauty and the Beast.

These remakes don’t lack pathos either. Chris Coffel wrote about The Jungle Book last year, specifically how the film balances emotional weight with the visuals. The Jungle Book presented a nuanced narrative of empathy and universality that elevated the movie far beyond many other family-friendly films of recent years. It’s no surprise that Disney went ahead with Favreau to adapt The Lion King and have pulled out all the stops, hiring freaking Beyoncé in the process.

Personally, this new casting announcement is the real draw of The Lion King. I’m not anti-remakes by any means, and actually went to see both The Jungle Book and Beauty and the Beast and enjoyed them. But knowing the kind of formula these films will take, it’s much more exciting to see who will play which part and how the performances will enhance a classic. The Lion King sports one of the coolest casts I’ve seen in a while, and judging by the amount of fan engagement on Disney’s cast announcement tweet alone, the feelings are mostly mutual.

The Lion King‘s official synopsis: “From Disney Live Action, director Jon Favreau’s all-new “The Lion King” journeys to the African savanna where a future king is born. Simba idolizes his father, King Mufasa, and takes to heart his own royal destiny. But not everyone in the kingdom celebrates the new cub’s arrival. Scar, Mufasa’s brother—and former heir to the throne—has plans of his own. The battle for Pride Rock is ravaged with betrayal, tragedy, and drama, ultimately resulting in Simba’s exile. With help from a curious pair of newfound friends, Simba will have to figure out how to grow up and take back what is rightfully his. The all-star cast includes Donald Glover as Simba, Beyoncé Knowles-Carter as Nala, Chiwetel Ejiofor as Scar, James Earl Jones as Mufasa, Billy Eichner as Timon and Seth Rogen as Pumbaa. Utilizing pioneering filmmaking techniques to bring treasured characters to life in a whole new way, “The Lion King” roars into theaters on July 19, 2019.”

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Sheryl Oh often finds herself fascinated (and let's be real, a little obsessed) with actors and their onscreen accomplishments, developing Film School Rejects' Filmographies column as a passion project. She's not very good at Twitter but find her at @sherhorowitz anyway. (She/Her)