Disney confirms the full cast for The Lion King live-action remake. Walt Disney Pictures has found a great deal of success in recent years with live-action updates of staples from their animated classics collection. Kenneth Branagh's Cinderella and Bill Condon's Beauty and the Beast both stuck closely to their respective animated films - which are themselves adaptations of well known fairy tales - with minor updates for modern audiences and, of course, live-action imagery.
Disney even ventured into adapting their animated films starring primarily animal characters with Jon Favreau's The Jungle Book, which was met by positive critical reviews and an extremely successful box office haul. Next, Favreau is re-teaming with the Mouse House for a live-action remake of The Lion King, which is itself an adaptation of William Shakespeare's Hamlet. Now, Disney has confirmed the full cast for Favreau's Lion King.
Disney unveiled the full cast of The Lion King, confirming a number of names that were previously reported to be in discussions or various stages of signing on for the project. Among the biggest confirmations are Beyoncé as Nala and Chiwetel Ejiofor as the villainous Scar.
The full cast as revealed by Disney includes Donald Glover as Simba, Beyoncé as Nala, James Earl Jones as Mufasa, Ejiofor as Scar, Alfre Woodard as Sarabi, John Oliver as Zazu, John Kani as Rafiki, Seth Rogen as Pumbaa, Billy Eichner as Timon, Eric Andre as Azizi, Florence Kasumba as Shenzi, Keegan-Michael Key as Kamari, JD McCrary as Young Simba, and Shahadi Wright Joseph as Young Nala. As previously announced, The Lion King will hit theaters in the summer of 2019. It's being directed by Favreau from a script by Jeff Nathanson, while Hans Zimmer will compose the score. A previous report indicated Beyoncé may work on the soundtrack and given Glover's own musical career, The Lion King could prove to be a musical triumph for Disney.
As was the case with Disney's previous live-action adaptations of the company's animated classics, the Mouse House has assembled an all-star cast to lend their talent to these beloved characters - though, of course, Jones will be returning to voice the same character from Disney's 1994 animated feature. The other members of Favreau's Lion King will have to contend with the legacy of their predecessors as the animated movie is undoubtedly a favorite for many who grew up watching Disney's catalogue of films. It did, after all, debut during the heyday of the Disney Renaissance in the late '80s/early '90s.
Still, Favreau and Disney have brought together a group of high calibre talent who will each no doubt put their own spins on their character. Whether Disney's latest live-action venture will be as successful as Beauty and the Beast or The Jungle Book remains to be seen. That said, the Mouse House has seemingly found a formula for success when it comes to their live-action updates, so The Lion King will likely be another massive hit for Disney and Favreau.
- The Lion King (2019) release date: Jul 19, 2019