The Internet wasn’t prepared to hear James Earl Jones voice live action Mufasa.
Hollywood has been trawling through its classics to give them a modern update. The current debate is whether or not the Back to the Future franchise should be rebooted. We just watched Mary Poppins Returns, and though it’s not a remake, it’s remake adjacent (it’s also bloody fantastic – review coming… erm soon).
It was announced last year that Disney’s 1994 multi-award-winning, global stage adapted animation classic ‘The Lion King‘ was getting a live-action remake. Directed by Jon Favreau who in 2016 successfully live-actioned Disney’s 1967 animated classic ‘The Jungle Book‘ (which cast Idris Elba, Lupita N’Yongo and Giancarlo Esposito’s voices) The Lion King also has an all-star majority black superstar cast.
Donald Glover (“Atlanta,” “Solo: A Star Wars Story”) voices future king Simba, Beyoncé Knowles-Carter (“Dreamgirls”) voices Simba’s friend-turned-love interest Nala, and James Earl Jones (“Rogue One: A Star Wars Story,” “Field of Dreams”) as Simba’s wise and loving father, Mufasa, reprises his iconic performance from Disney’s original 1994 animated classic.
Oscar-nominated British Black actor Chiwetel Ejiofor (“Twelve Years a Slave”, “Doctor Strange”) will voice Simba’s wicked uncle Scar, and Alfre Woodard (“Juanita,” Marvel’s “Luke Cage”) will voice Simba’s mother, Sarabi. Other actors include “Black Panther’s” Florence Kasumba as leader of the Hyenas Shenzi, and she’s joined by Eric André (“The Eric André Show) as Azizi, and Keegan-Michael Key of Key and Peele fame as Kamari.
The trailer was released this week and set the Internet on fire, mostly because people weren’t prepared to hear Mufasa alive and well. James Earl Jones’ iconic tones narrate the visuals which give a glimpse into the beautiful ‘African‘ (in quotes because it’s an undisclosed African country) Savannah. No doubt we’ll get a few more character introducing trailers, head or tails which will come first, Mufasa, Simba & Nala or Scar?
Though, ‘live action‘ is debatable because CGI is still animation isn’t it? We’re absolutely here for this remake. However, nerves are already fraught with the thought of how this version will visualise Mufasa’s death…
***Sidenote – The Jungle Book has been remade again this time it’s called ‘Mowgli‘ it’s directed by British actor Andy Serkis and will be released December 7th, 2018) ***
The Lion King
Director: Jon Favreau
Screenwriter: Jeff Nathanson | Brenda Chapman | Irene Mecchi | Jonathan Roberts | Linda Woolverton
Cast: Chiwetel Ejiofor, Donald Glover, Beyoncé Knowles-Carter, James Earl Jones, Alfre Woodard, Sarabi, Florence Kasumba, Eric André, Keegan-Michael Key
UK release date: 19 July 2019