The Lion King live-action/CGI remake has cast Amy Sedaris to voice a character who wasn't in the original 2D animated film. In the years since its live-action/CGI retellings of Alice in Wonderland, Cinderella, and Sleeping Beauty (see: Maleficent) brought in big returns at the box office, Disney has doubled its efforts to refashion even more of its classic animated features as modern tentpoles. The Mouse House will reimagine its animated versions of centuries-old stories like Aladdin and Mulan over the next couple of years alone, in addition to revisiting its own original African fairy tale, The Lion King.
The original 2D animated Lion King was released in 1994 and takes place in the Pride Lands of Africa, where the wise and powerful Mufasa (voiced by James Earl Jones) rules from atop Pride Rock and prepares his young son Simba to follow in his footsteps one day. Jones is reprising his voice role as Mufasa in the remake, and even provided the voiceover for The Lion King teaser trailer that made its way online last week. Most of the rest of the film's cast (Donald Glover, Beyoncé, and so on) are new to the world of The Lion King and are voicing characters who were featured in the original 1994 film - with one newly-revealed exception, that is.
According to Variety, Sedaris has joined The Lion King remake cast and is voicing a brand-new character who was not featured in the original 2D animated film. The site describes Sedaris' character as being an elephant shrew, but doesn't have any details to offer about her role (including, what her character is named) beyond that. Presumably, since Sedaris wasn't included in The Lion King cast announcement a year ago, her turn is going to be very much supporting in nature.
Sedaris, of course, is far from a stranger to the world of voice-acting, having lent her voice to Princess Carolyn (among other characters) across all five seasons of Netflix's Bojack Horseman to date. She's also done voice work on popular cartoon TV shows like Steven Universe and Star vs. the Forces of Evil in recent years, and voiced a character in the english-language version of the Oscar nominated French-Swiss stop motion film, My Life as a Zucchini. On top of all that, Sedaris previously collaborated with The Lion King director Jon Favreau on his acclaimed 2014 indie comedy, Chef.
All things considered, it's not surprising to learn that Favreau is adding some original elements and characters to his retelling of The Lion King. The filmmaker also incorporated fresh ingredients (including, supporting animal characters) into his live-action/CGI remake of Disney's animated The Jungle Book a couple years ago, and the resulting film was largely celebrated for being not only an impressive (and Oscar-winning) technical accomplishment, but a great piece of storytelling to boot. If he's taking a similar approach to re-imagining The Lion King for the big screen (as seems to be the case), then it certainly bodes well for Favreau's second attempt at remaking a Disney classic.
- The Lion King (2019) release date: Jul 19, 2019