With another high profile casting announcement, this time by Disney’s live action The Lion King, comes another opportunity for Saturday Night Live comedy fodder. With the Lion King cast being absolutely star-studded – including names such as Donald Glover and Beyoncé – SNL put together a video sketch that comes up with various “what ifs” in the form of fake screen tests, with host Tiffany Haddish (Girls Trip) and the SNL cast showing off their best celebrity impressions.
The fake audition tape is a format that SNL has utilized from time to time, often to viral success with millions of views. Most famously, the sketch comedy show has hit Back to the Future, Top Gun, Fifty Shades of Grey and Star Wars: The Force Awakens. Now with The Lion King, the SNL cast gets to take their celebrity impressions to musical territory. The real-life cast contains other names such as Chiwetel Ejiofor, Alfre Woodard, Seth Rogen, Billy Eichner and John Oliver – although the sketch still managed to skewer the last name mentioned.
Celebrities parodied in the sketch include Oliver (by a ranting Mikey Day, ending with “and now, this”), Lin-Manuel Miranda (Cecily Strong, nearly in tears by the end), Nick Offerman (an uncannily good Beck Bennett), Kit Harrington (Alex Moffat), Oprah (Leslie Jones), James Corden (Aidy Bryant), Mary J. Blige (Haddish) and a few more. All were just brief ten second caricatures, but they hit their mark with audiences, similar to the previous “audition tapes” sketches from the show’s past.
The above sketch just goes to demonstrate the buzz surrounding this live-action remake from Jon Favreau, who previously adapted The Jungle Book to great success. The casting of Beyoncé as Nala set the internet on fire, with many of the singer’s devoted followers celebrating on social media. And with Donald Glover winning Emmy gold for Atlanta – and soon to appear in Solo: A Star Wars Story as Lando Calrissian – Childish Gambino is sure having a great year of his own.
With James Earl Jones returning as Mufasa, and Hans Zimmer confirmed to return as the composer, Favreau’s remake should be a nostalgic treat for all. Production is underway, with footage premiering during the D23 expo this past summer recreating the “Circle of Life” sequence from the original animated movie. An appropriate scene to show, as eventually every Disney Renaissance film will likely circle back into a modern day live-action adaptation.
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