Disney’s new live-action remake of The Lion King is taking shape after the studio confirmed several more high-profile castings last night.
In a welcoming move for many, the all-star cast mostly consists of black actors for the heavily-anticipated reboot of the hit 1994 animation.
Following months of speculation, singing sensation and actress Beyoncé Knowles (Dreamgirls, Epic) has officially been confirmed to voice Nala, the childhood friend and future wife of main hero Simba.
As revealed earlier in the year, Golden Globe winner Donald Glover (Atlanta, Solo: A Star Wars Story) will be playing Simba, the heir to Pride Rock who embarks on the crucial journey from cub to ‘lion king’.
Youngsters JD McCrary (Teachers) and Shahadi Wright Joseph (Hairspray Live!) will both be voicing the child versions of Simba and Nala respectively.
Another significant casting is that of BAFTA winning actor Chiwetel Ejiofor (12 Years a Slave, Doctor Strange) as he voices the role of Simba’s sinister uncle Scar who was memorably played in the original film by Jeremy Irons.
Elsewhere, fans of the original film will be excited by the return of James Earl Jones (Star Wars saga, Coming to America) who reprises his memorable portrayal of Simba’s tragic father Mufasa. Four-time Emmy award winner Alfre Woodard (Primal Fear, 12 Years a Slave) completes the family lineup by voicing Simba’s mother (and Mufasa’s wife) Sarabi.
Additionally, comedian actors Seth Rogen (Knocked Up, Pineapple Express) and Billy Eichner (Parks and Recreation, The Angry Birds Movie) will voice the memorable roles of warthog Pumbaa and meerkat Timon respectively. British talk show host John Oliver (The Daily Show, Last Week Tonight with John Oliver) playing uptight hornbill Zazu while John Kani (The Ghost and the Darkness, Captain America: Civil War) will voice the wise mandrill Rafiki.
Finally, Eric Andre (2 Broke Girls, Man Seeking Woman), Florence Kasumba (Wonder Woman, Black Panther) and Keegan-Michael Key (MADtv, BoJack Horseman) will bring their vocals to the roles of Scar’s hyena sidekicks Azizi, Shenzi and Kamari.
Jon Faverau (Iron Man, The Jungle Book) is tackling the exciting project as director while composer Hans Zimmer returns to score the music for the film having won an Oscar for his wonderful work on the original animation.
Audiences will no doubt gather to cinemas like the animals in the Circle of Life sequence when the new Lion King film will be released on July 19th 2019.