Jon Favreau's The Lion King is moving right along and has now landed two comedians as the voices of Timon and Pumbaa. The meerkat and warthog duo - voiced by Nathan Lane and Ernie Sabella in the 1994 animated Lion King, respectively - are among the most memorable characters from the original Disney classic. Not only do they serve as mentors to Simba, but provide plenty of comedic relief and are the leads on one of the most memorable songs, "Hakuna Matata".
While the animated version had plenty of recognizable voices, Favreau is looking for star talent to fill out the acting roster of his remake. He has already brought back James Earl Jones as Mufasa, and has since cast Donald Glover in the lead role, as adult Simba. Now, Simba's two pals have found their own voices in the film.
The Wrap is reporting that Seth Rogen has joined the project to voice the lovable but stinky Pumbaa, while Billy Eichner will be providing the voice to Timon. Both are regular comedians, and have even worked together before - most recently, on Neighbors 2: Sorority Rising. Now the pair will be working together once again and should give the onscreen (animal) duo plenty of comedy chops.
Neither Rogen or Eichner are strangers to doing the voice work that will be required for these roles. Rogen has plenty of experience in this field after being involved with Shrek the Third, the Kung Fu Panda franchise, a variety of TV shows, and most recently in Sausage Party. Eichner has appeared on multiple occasions in Bob's Burgers and also brought his voice to The Angry Birds Movie last year. It is unclear whether or not these roles will require any motion-capture too (though it's unlikely).
This latest addition to the cast comes directly on the heels of Disney setting The Lion King for a 2019 theatrical release. Given how well Favreau's The Jungle Book did at the box office in the spring of last year, Lion King could prove to be a bigger hit. Not only does it have the summer season at its disposal, but this is also one of Disney's more beloved animated features - and Beauty and the Beast has already shown how far that can go.
Even with Timon and Pumbaa now having voices, there are still a number of big roles left to be filled. Beyonce is currently the first choice to be Nala, but has yet to officially sign on. Scar, Rafiki, Zazu, and the trio of hyenas have all yet to find their voices. If the current casting is any indication, expect even more star power to board the ensemble before everything is said and done.
Source: The Wrap
- The Lion King (2019) release date: Jul 19, 2019