Walt Disney Studios has announced the cast for its 2019 live-action remake of classic musical The Lion King and the star-studded list features familiar faces from film, music and comedy.
Fans of Beyonce are rejoicing at the news the singer will star as Nala, the love interest of charismatic protagonist Simba, who will be played by comedian, rapper and screenwriter Donald Glover.
James Earl Jones will reprise his 1994 role as Simba’s father Mufasa, while British actor Chiwetel Ejiofor will play villain Scar, late-night host John Oliver will star as Simba’s feathered friend Zazu and comedians Billy Eichner and Seth Rogen will play Timon and Pumbaa respectively.
Comedian Eric Andre as Azizi and comedian/screenwriter Keegan-Michael Key as Kamari round out the impressive cast list.
— Walt Disney Studios (@DisneyStudios) November 1, 2017
Prolific Hollywood composer Hans Zimmer will score the film, but there’s no word yet on whether he will incorporate the work of the film’s musically-gifted stars.
Jon Favreau will direct the film, which has a screenplay adapted from the original. Favreau has plenty of experience rebooting beloved Disney classics – he helmed the 2016 live-action remake of The Jungle Book.
“It is a director’s dream to assemble a talented team like this to bring this classic story to life,” Favreau said in a statement.
The mostly-black cast has been a cause for great celebration on social media, especially given the majority of lead actors in the original were white, despite the film being set in Africa.
Much like The Jungle Book, the new Lion King film will use digital effects to create realistic-looking animals voiced by the stars.
The Lion King is due in cinemas in mid-2019.
The lead cast for The Lion King are all black… I see you Disney. The singing will be glorious.
— Duaine Carma Roberts (@DuaineRoberts) August 7, 2017
Also, very pleased to see that the majority of the cast of the Lion King is black.
— a.k. (@ashleyxkim) November 1, 2017
Literally everyone’s reaction to the Lion King cast announcement… pic.twitter.com/eNRvM4FTmI
— Sam Pearce (@Samuel_Pearce) November 1, 2017