Disney has been parceling out news on the voice talent it has enlisted for Jon Fravreau’s follow-up to 2016’s The Jungle Book: a “live action” remake of the 1994 animated film The Lion King. But now we know just exactly how excited to get for the 2019 return to the African savanna. Joining the previously-announced Donald Glover as Simba and the returning James Earl Jones as Mufasa is Beyoncé Knowles-Carter as the lioness Nala. Are you feeling the love Disney has for you tonight?
The full cast also includes Chiwetel Ejiofor as the scheming Scar, Alfre Woodard as Simba’s mother, Sarabi, John Oliver as Zasu, and John Kani as Rafiki with Seth Rogen and Billy Eichner as Simba’s friends Pumbaa and Timon. For the trio of hyena henchmen, Disney has enlisted Florence Kasumba, Eric André, and Keegan-Michael Key. Young performers JD McCrary and Shahadi Wright Joseph will voice the child versions of Simba and Nala.
All-star cast and new breakthroughs in motion capture and CGI aside, the bigger debate around this movie may center on Beyoncé’s Nala. Eternally a question mark in the ongoing debate of “is this character a Disney princess?” the character of Nala may more technically qualify as a Disney queen. That sounds like a more appropriate title for Beyoncé anyway, doesn’t it?
The Lion King also has an official release date—July 19, 2019—and joins the increasingly crowded Disney slate of live-action adaptations. In addition to another iteration of the studio’s 1994 animated hit, Disney is also planning live-action takes on a horde of films including Mulan, The Little Mermaid, Dumbo, and Aladdin.
Lion King: Beyoncé Joins the All-Star Cast of Disney’s Remake – Vanity Fair