New behind-the-scenes footage from the original animated film, The Lion King has now been released online. More than two decades after the release of one of Disney’s most beloved and acclaimed animated movies, fans can relive the magic that is Simba’s life journey to claim his rightful place on earth and become his father’s worthy successor digitally. In light of the occasion, the House of Mouse has rolled out several behind-the-scenes clips that give fans a closer look at the intricate process that the folks behind The Lion King went through while making the film.
The Lion King, as a property, has an interesting backstory. Back when it was being developed by Disney, a majority of the senior cartoonists and artists did not want to work on it and instead opted to board Pocahontas – which was perceived as being the more bankable project between the two, at the time. As a result, a good chunk of The Lion King‘s creative team wound up being newcomers who were eager to prove themselves took the opportunity to make something excellent out of their “B project.” The rest, as they say, is history, as The Lion King has since easily eclipsed Pocahontas to become one of Disney’s most famous animated classics.
Now, as The Lion King gets a special re-release in digital and on Blu-ray, Disney is celebrating the occasion by releasing more BTS videos that include one featuring Rowan Atkinson (who voiced Zazu) and Jason Weaver (who took on the singing voice of young Simba) as the duo perform “I Can’t Wait To Be King” – one of the film’s many song and dance numbers. Further, a snippet of the recording session for the ever-so popular “Hakuna Matata” in included here too. You can check out the clip, above.
Another video features Nathan Lane, who voiced the snappy but adorable meerkat Timon, explaining how the artists in charge of hand-drawing his character incorporated his mannerisms into his film counterpart. You can watch that particular Lion King featurette, above.
Finally, and possibly the most technical of these clips, is the above video of The Lion King directors Roger Allers and Rob Minkoff demonstrating to their artists how the “Hakuna Matata” performance from Simba, Timon and Pumbaa should play onscreen, with the help of dozens and dozens of storyboards. The version depicted here is not exactly the same as to what ended up in the movie, which makes it all the more fascinating to watch unfold.
As fans enjoy The Lion King digitally and soon on Blu-ray, a retelling of the famed story will soon grace the big screen – when Jon Favreau’s CGI iteration of the movie hits theaters in 2019. Thus far, the voice cast for the project is looking great, with Donald Glover voicing Simba, Billy Eichner as Timon, Seth Rogen as Pumbaa, John Oliver as Zazu and Chiwetel Ejiofor as Scar. The iconic James Earl Jones, meanwhile, will reprise his role as Mufasa while Beyonce has long been rumored to take on the role of Nala. An in-progress version of the “Circle of Life” sequence from the film was even screen at the D23 Expo, back in July.
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