The cast list for director Jon Favreau’s remake of The Lion King was released Wednesday, and Beyoncé Knowles-Carter will be play the female lead. The singer, songwriter, and actress will take on the role of a lion named Nala, the love interest to the main character Simba, who will be played by Atlanta and Community’s Donald Glover. Beyoncé posted the cast for the film’s major roles on her Facebook page on Wednesday afternoon:
It’s a more diverse cast than Disney’s original 1994 animated film, in which, despite the film’s African savannah setting, Matthew Broderick played Simba, Moira Kelly played Nala, and Jeremy Irons played the villain (who, in a smart bit of casting for the new film, will now be played by Chiwetel Ejiofor). One thing hasn’t changed: James Earl Jones will reprise his role as Mufasa, because it wouldn’t be fair to ask anyone to follow James Earl Jones. Other highlights of the new cast include John Oliver as Zazu, a nervous hornbill; Seth Rogen as Pumbaa the warthog; Billy Eichner as a meercat named Timon; and Keegan-Michael Key as one of the three hyenas who pal around with Chiwetel Ejiofor’s villainous lion, Scar.
Disney’s press release describes the film as being “From Disney Live Action,” as in the division of the studio, but doesn’t refer to it as a “live-action” film. This makes sense, given that every character is a talking animal. As far as what that would even mean, director Favreau and animation supervisor Andrew R. Jones also collaborated on The Jungle Book, which looked like this:
So presumably, that, but take the human out. Live action footage will be shot by five-time Academy Award nominee Caleb Deschanel, which could mean location shooting in Africa or lots of shots of the interior of a giant green room, depending. The Lion King will be released on July 19, 2019.