The Lion King Movie Poster

Trivia for The Lion King

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  • This is Jon Favreau's second live action Disney movie based on a Disney animated movie after directing The Jungle Book (2016).
  • Disney's second live action film as well as the first live action reboot of a Disney animated feature film where a voice actor from the original reprises their role - James Earl Jones reprises his role as Mufasa. The first one to do this was Christopher Robin (2018) with Jim Cummings.
  • Donald Glover (Childish Gambino) will voice Simba. He is an actor, writer, stand-up comedian, director, rapper, and musician.
  • Beyoncé is being considered for the role of Nala. She is director Jon Favreau's top choice. She was eventually confirmed to indeed be taking the role in November 2017.
  • Both Donald Glover (Simba) and James Earl Jones (Mufasa) have worked on Star Wars movies, though on separate occasions. James Earl Jones provides the voice of Darth Vader in the Star Wars films that he appeared in, and Donald Glover is set to appear as Lando Calrissian in Solo: A Star Wars Story (2018), Chiwetel Ejiofor (Scar) was born when the original Star Wars came out in 1977.
  • This film will be released on the 25th anniversary of The Lion King (1994).
  • The second live action reboot of a Disney animated feature film that's completely original and not an adaptation of anything, though The Lion King (1994), its direct-to-video sequel (The Lion King 2: Simba's Pride (1998)) and midquel (The Lion King 1 1/2 (2004)) did use elements from plays by William Shakespeare. The first one being Dumbo (2019), released four months earlier in the same year.
  • Billy Eichner's third time voice acting in a film, after Penguins of Madagascar (2014) and The Angry Birds Movie (2016).
  • Seth Rogen's third voice over job in a live-action film, after The Spiderwick Chronicles (2008) (Hogsqueal) and Paul (2011) (the titular character) 11 and eight years prior, respectively. This is also his first voice over performance in a live action film to not release the same year as a film in DreamWorks Animation's Kung Fu Panda franchise, of which Rogen appeared in.
  • This is John Oliver's second live-action adaptation of an animated feature, after having worked on The Smurfs live-action films as Vanity Smurf.
  • Both John Oliver (Zazu in the live action reboot) and Rowan Atkinson (Zazu in the original animated film) have starred in live action films based on Hanna-Barbera cartoons. Oliver was in The Smurfs (2011) and its sequel The Smurfs 2 (2013) as Vanity Smurf, whilst Atkinson was in Scooby-Doo (2002) as Mondavarious.
  • John Oliver (Zazu), Keegan-Michael Key (Kamari), and Billy Eichner (Timon), as well as Director Jon Favreau, had all voiced characters in theatrical films by Sony Animation. Oliver was in The Smurfs (2011) and its sequel The Smurfs 2 (2013), Key was in Hotel Transylvania 2 (2015), The Angry Birds Movie (2016), The Star (2017) and Hotel Transylvania 3: Summer Vacation (2018), Eichner was in The Angry Birds Movie (2016), and Favreau was in the first Open Season (2006) movie.
  • Hugh Jackman was rumored to voice Scar, of which was quickly denied by his representative. Nearly three weeks after this rumor, it was eventually confirmed to be Chiwetel Ejiofor, making his second time voice acting in a film after Sherlock Gnomes (2018).
  • Released same year as Dumbo (2019) and Mulan (2018), fellow live action reboots of Disney animated feature films.
  • Billy Eichner (Timon) and Seth Rogen (Pumbaa) have both voiced characters in movies by DreamWorks Animation. Eichner was in Penguins of Madagascar (2014), and Rogen was in Shrek the Third (2007), Kung Fu Panda (2008), its two sequels Kung Fu Panda 2 (2011) and Kung Fu Panda 3 (2016), and Monsters vs. Aliens (2009).
  • Hugh Jackman's 4th time Voice Acting, after Flushed Away (2006), Happy Feet (2006) and Rise of the Guardians (2012).
  • The seventh live action remake of a Disney animated feature film, after Maleficent (2014), Cinderella (2015), The Jungle Book (2016), Beauty and the Beast (2017), Dumbo (2019), and Aladdin (2019), as well as the last one of the 2010s. This does not include Tim Burton's Alice in Wonderland (2010) which is completely different and not based on the 1950s animated film the same said for Christopher Robin (2018) which is actually a live-action sequel to Winnie the Pooh (2011).
  • John Oliver (Zazu in the live action reboot) previously appeared alongside Matthew Broderick (Simba in the original animated film) in Wonder Park (2019) by Paramount Animation/Nickelodeon movies four months prior. Oliver voiced Steve the Porcupine, whilst Broderick voiced June's Dad.
  • Donald Glover (Simba), Alfre Woodard (Sarabi) and Chiwetel Ejiofor (Scar) have all appeared in live action Marvel films. Glover was in Spider-Man: Homecoming (2017), Woodard was in Captain America: Civil War (2016), and Ejiofor was in Doctor Strange (2016), all of these films released after Disney's acquisition of Marvel.
  • The second film directed by Jon Favreau where the main villain is played by a Black British actor, after The Jungle Book (2016), a fellow live action reboot of a Disney animated feature film.
  • Much like with the original The Lion King (1994), many actors from this film have made appearances in Sesame Street (1969) sketches over the years, as well as in stuff related to The Muppets. Billy Eichner (Timon), John Oliver (Zazu), and Keegan-Michael Key (Banzai/Kamari) have even met with some Muppets at times on their own talk shows.
  • John Oliver (Zazu) and Billy Eichner (Timon) are both talk show hosts, being of Last Week Tonight with John Oliver (2014) and Billy on the Street (2011) respectively.
  • Donald Glover (Simba in the live action reboot) and Matthew Broderick (Simba in the original animated film) both voiced characters in the Cartoon Network series Adventure Time (2010). Glover voiced Marshall Lee, whilst Broderick voiced the Dream Warrior and the Spirit of the Forest.
  • Alfre Woodard's second film that takes place in Africa, after The Wild Thornberrys Movie (2002), which also had her voicing a big cat mother. There she collaborated with the voice of series' protagonist Eliza Thornberry, Lacey Chabert, who appeared in the original The Lion King (1994)'s direct-to-video sequel The Lion King 2: Simba's Pride (1998) as the voice of Vitani as a cub in the Outlander Pride.
  • Alfre Woodard (Sarabi), John Oliver (Zazu) and Seth Rogen (Pumbaa) have all appeared in films by Nickelodeon Movies. Woodard was in The Wild Thornberrys Movie (2002), Oliver was in Wonder Park (2019), and Rogen was in The Spiderwick Chronicles (2008).
  • John Kani (Rafiki) and Florence Kasumba (Shenzi) have both starred in features about the comic book hero the Black Panther T'Challa, also an African prince. Kani starred as T'Challa's father T'Chaka in the Marvel Cinematic Universe films, Kasumba played Ayo in Black Panther
  • Alfre Woodard's third time voice acting in a film, after Dinosaur (2000) and The Wild Thornberrys Movie (2002), the former of which being another Disney film.
  • Rafiki in this film is voiced by an actual African actor, being John Kani, unlike his original animated counterpart where he had been voiced by an American actor (Robert Guillaume) using a Swahili accent.
  • John Kani's first film to have "Lion" in the title since White Lion (2010) released nine years ago.
  • Unlike the 1994 original animated film, all the lions in this production are voiced by actors of African descent, whereas in the original only Mufasa, young Nala, Sarafina, and Sarabi were. This also applied to young Simba, but only with his singing voice.
  • Both Donald Glover (Simba) and Chiwetel Ejiofor (Scar) appeared in Ridley Scott's film The Martian (2015).
  • Is the next live action reboot in line after Aladdin (2019). Similarly, the original animated The Lion King (1994) was the next Disney animated feature film to be released after the original animated Aladdin (1992).
  • Though a different incarnation of those characters, this film will mark the first time that Pumbaa and Ed the Hyena (renamed Azizi in this version) will not be voiced by Ernie Sabella and Jim Cummings respectively. Sabella and Cummings had voiced their original animated counterparts in every appearance prior (films, TV series, video games, etc.) as they are replaced with Seth Rogen and Eric Andre respectively.
  • Though a different incarnation of the character, this is Sarabi's first appearance outside the original The Lion King (1994), the only time her original animated counterpart ever made an appearance.
  • Seth Rogen (Pumbaa), Beyoncé (Nala) and James Earl Jones (Mufasa) were in films by Blue Sky Studios. Rogen was in Horton Hears a Who! (2008), Knowles was in Epic (2013) and Jones was in Robots (2005).
  • Keegan-Michael Key's fourth time voice acting in a film not distributed by Sony Animation, after The Lego Movie (2014), Storks (2016), and Toy Story 4 (2019), the latter of which also released in 2019.
  • The third collaboration between Billy Eichner and Keegan-Michael Key, after Billy on the Street with Billy Eichner (2011) and The Angry Birds Movie (2016).
  • Two of the hyenas are given African names. The hyenas Banzai and Ed are being changed to Kamari and Azizi. Shenzi's name remains the same.
  • Alfre Woodard appeared in Star Trek: First Contact (1996), while James Earl Jones and Donald Glover both appeared in Star Wars films. The original The Lion King (1994) also featured Whoopi Goldberg and the late Madge Sinclair, who had both appeared on Star Trek: The Next Generation (1987); Sinclair also appeared in Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home (1986).
  • The hyenas Shenzi, Kamari, and Azizi are named after the Swahili words for "savage," "mighty", and "moonlight", respectively. Kamari and Azizi were originally named Banzai and Ed in the 1994 animated film, but were given African names for this film.
  • The hyena Azizi is slightly deranged. Azizi means "moonlight," as moonlight is associated with mental illness. Eric Andre plays Azizi in this adaptation, which is perfect because his silly style of humor is very twisted and unhinged.
  • James Earl Jones, Hans Zimmer, Elton John, and Tim Rice are the only people who worked on the original animated film that reprise their respective roles, as the voice of Mufasa, the composer of the film, and songwriters.
  • In November 2017, Hans Zimmer was announced to return to compose the music for this film, as he did for the 1994 film. On a similar note, director Jon Favreau previously was able to secure Richard M. Sherman to compose The Jungle Book (2016) as he did for the 1967 film.
  • James Earl Jones (Mufasa), John Oliver (Zazu), and Seth Rogen (Pumbaa) are the only cast members to have done previous voiceover work in live action films in the past.
  • Second collaboration between Alfre Woodard (Sarabi) and Chiwetel Ejiofor (Scar), after 12 Years a Slave (2013).
  • Chiwetel Ejiofor (Scar in the live action reboot) and experienced voice actor Jim Cummings (Ed the Hyena in the original animated film, who also voiced the gopher and filled in for Jeremy Irons as Scar during the last few lyrics of the song "Be Prepared") have both been in films in the Gnomeo & Juliet Franchise on separate occasions. Cummings was in the first Gnomeo & Juliet (2011) by Disney's Touchstone Pictures label as Featherstone whilst Ejiofor was in its sequel Sherlock Gnomes (2018) by Paramount Animation as Gnome Watson.
  • Beyoncé's second time voice acting in a film, after Epic (2013). That film also had her voicing a queen, though unlike Nala, she'd already been a queen from the get go.
  • Beyoncé (Nala) was born in September 1981, only four days before Jonathan Taylor Thomas, who in his childhood was the voice of Simba as a cub in the original The Lion King (1994).
  • Jon Favreau is the first person to direct two Disney live action remakes, in this case The Jungle Book (2016) and this film.
  • Unlike the 1994 version most of the cast are African or African American. In fact Billy Eichner, Seth Rogen, and John Oliver are the only main Caucasian actors in the remake. Those three members of the main cast are the only ones not voicing any lions, hyenas, or animals with Swahili Accents.
  • Seth Rogen's fifth voice acting performance in a film that's not from DreamWorks Animation, after The Spiderwick Chronicles (2008), Horton Hears a Who! (2008), Paul (2011), and Sausage Party (2016).
  • Two of Alfre Woodard's old co-stars from Dinosaur (2000), Samuel E. Wright and Max Casella, both starred in the Broadway version of "The Lion King" in 1997, where they played Mufasa and Timon respectively.
  • Both Seth Rogen (Pumbaa in the live action reboot) and experienced voice actor Jim Cummings (Ed in the original animated film) have been in films of DreamWorks Animation's Shrek franchise, both voicing captains. Cummings voiced the Captain of the Guards in the first Shrek (2001), and Rogen voiced the Ship Captain in Shrek the Third (2007).
  • Florence Kasumba and John Kani are the second and third actors who'd been in a Black Panther film to appear in a film by Jon Favreau. The first had been Lupita Nyong'o who appeared in the fellow Disney live action reboot The Jungle Book (2016), all of whom appeared in Black Panther (2018) released a year prior.
  • Even though James Earl Jones reprises his role as Mufasa, he is 46 years older than Chiwetel Ejiofor, who had been cast as Scar, Mufasa's younger brother, unlike in the original 1994 animated film where Jones was only 17 years older than Jeremy Irons.
  • Billy Eichner (Timon) previously appeared in the spin-off film to DreamWorks Animation's Madagascar trilogy, Penguins of Madagascar (2014), where he voiced one of the minor humans in the film. In the original The Lion King (1994)'s Direct-to-Video/DVD Midquel The Lion King 3: Hakuna Matata (2004), Timon's uncle Max was voiced by Jerry Stiller, father of Ben Stiller, who voiced Alex the Lion in the main Madagascar films.
  • John Oliver and Billy Eichner have both appeared in episodes of Bob's Burgers (2011) on separate occasions.
  • Whoopi Goldberg (Shenzi in the original animated film) and Keegan-Michael Key (Kamari in the live action reboot) both voiced characters in Disney/Pixar's Toy Story franchise. Goldberg was in Toy Story 3 (2010) as Stretch the Rubbery Octopus, whilst Key was in Toy Story 4 (2019) as Ducky.
  • Donald Glover and Chiwetel Ejiofor appear in The Martian (2015) as co-workers; Here they appear in this film as nephew and uncle.
  • Billy Eichner's (Timon) birthday is on September 18th, only one day before the birthdays of Jeremy Irons and Ernie Sabella, the voices of Scar and Pumbaa respectively in the original animated film.
  • Jon Favreau cast Chiwetel Ejiofor in the role of Scar as he had impressed Favreau after watching his antagonistic performance as Baron Mordo in Doctor Strange (2016).
  • Billy Eichner (Timon) and Seth Rogen (Pumbaa) recorded their lines together, much like how Nathan Lane (Timon's original animated counterpart) and Ernie Sabella (Pumbaa's original animated counterpart) did so in the original 1994 animated film, as well as in its direct-to-video/DVD sequel and midquel.
  • Seth Rogen (Pumbaa), John Oliver (Zazu) and Keegan-Michael Key (Kamari) also appeared alongside Billy Eichner (Timon) in an episode of Eichner's talk show Billy on the Street (2011) on separate occasions.
  • Scar's villainous song "Be Prepared" was originally to be left out of the film due to its Nazi themes which Disney executives were afraid to tackle and also because Chiwetel Ejiofor's voice was not fit for the singing. This drew a lot of ire from film critics and fans. However, the studio relented and put the song back in the film.
  • The film may employ songs from the Broadway "The Lion King" musical, particularly "Shadowland" (a song dedicated to Nala) and possibly "He Lives in You".
  • Billy Eichner (Timon) and Keegan-Michael Key's (Kamari) second movie collaboration, after The Angry Birds Movie (2016), of which even had a sequel released the same year as this film and featured Eric Andre's on-and-off partner Hannibal Buress.
  • Even though they play Simba and Scar respectively (uncle and nephew), Donald Glover is only six years younger than Chiwetel Ejiofor. Similarly in the original 1994 animated film, the voice of Simba (Matthew Broderick) was only 13 years younger than the voice of Scar (Jeremy Irons).
  • Billy Eichner (Timon) and Shahadi Wright Joseph (Young Nala) also appeared together in fellow musical Hairspray Live! (2016).
  • Seth Rogen who had been cast as Pumbaa previously voiced a talking sausage named Frank in Sausage Party (2016). Sausages are meat from pigs, and Pumbaa being a warthog is a member of the pig family.
  • James Earl Jones's second time voice acting in a live action film that's not associated with the Star Wars franchise. He also did so in Casper: A Spirited Beginning (1997) 22 years prior.
  • This is the first Disney production of The Lion King where Ed the Hyena (renamed Azizi in this version) is voiced by someone other than Jim Cummings.
  • This is one of Disney productions of The Lion King where Banzai (renamed Kamari in this version) is not voiced by Cheech Marin.
  • Second Disney film directed by Jon Favreau, in which the main antagonist is voiced by an African American, first was The Jungle Book (2016) where Idris Elba did the voice of Shere Khan, in this film Chiwetel Ejiofor is doing the voice of Scar.
  • The hyena Kamari is strong. Kamari means "mighty", as might is associated with ferocity.
  • Florence Kasumba, who voices Shenzi in this film, also appeared as the same character in the German musical version of "The Lion King".
  • "The Hawaiian War Chant" didn't return from the original 1994 animated film due to time constraints.
  • The Lion King (2019) will be one of the first films to be released on Disney+ alongside Toy Story 4 (2019) and Frozen II (2019).
  • Whoopi Goldberg, Cheech Marin, Nathan Lane and Jim Cummings (Shenzi, Banzai, Timon, and Ed the hyena in the original 1994 animated film) and Seth Rogen and Beyoncé Knowles (Pumbaa and Nala) in the live action reboot have appeared in animated films by 20th Century Fox Whoopi Goldberg was in The Pagemaster (1994), Cheech Marin was in Ferngully the last Rainforest (1992), Nathan Lane and Jim Cummings were in Titan A.E. (2000), Seth Rogen was in Horton Hears a Who (2008), and Beyoncé Knowles was in Epic (2013).
  • The teaser trailer was released on November 22, 2018, during the annual Dallas Cowboys' Thanksgiving night game. Following the premiere, the trailer was uploaded online.
  • In the original Matthew Broderick (Simba) was left-handed and Jeremy Irons (Scar) was right-handed, in this the it is the villian, Chiwetel Ejiofor (Scar) who is left handed and Donald Glover (Simba) who is right-handed.
  • Disney has never marketed its 2019 "The Lion King" as "live-action." Numerous media outlets have persisted in incorrectly representing the film as live-action since the day its production was announced in 2016. The press revived this incorrect description in their coverage following the Nov 2018 teaser-trailer's release despite its obvious use of computer animation. This has prompted widespread confusion about the term "live-action." The media's and other laymen's confusion may be attributable to a lack of awareness of the technical term "photorealistic" and the novelty of the film's production technologies. Animation artists and animated-film industry experts describe the animation style as "photorealistic CGI". The film's Virtual Production Supervisor Girish Balakrishnan says the film is not live action per se, but has "a completely photorealistic live-action, yet CG, aesthetic [emphasis added]".
  • Jeremy Irons was disappointed that he didn't get to reprise his role as Scar, as James Earl Jones got to reprise his role as Mufasa.
  • Scar's appearance will be completely changed for this new version. Since in the original 1994 version, looked clear brown with black mane, in the remake will be changed into a completely white (albino) frail lion. According to the movie producers, these changes are made to make a difference between the main protagonists (Simba, Mufasa, Nala, etc) and the antagonist (him).
  • Voice acting debut for Eric Andre (Azizi) in a feature film. He previously did voice over for Netflix's Disenchantment (2018).
  • Matthew Broderick and Nathan Lane (Simba and Timon in the original 1994 animated film) appeared alongside Keegan-Michael Key (Banzai/Kamari in the live action reboot) in the live action American sitcom Modern Family (2009).
  • James Earl Jones is the only actor to reprise a role from the original 1994 animated film. He reprises his role as Mufasa, while Matthew Broderick was replaced with Donald Glover as Simba, Moira Kelly was replaced with Beyoncé Knowles as Nala, Nathan Lane was replaced with Billy Eichner as Timon, Ernie Sabella was replaced with Seth Rogen as Pumbaa, Robert Guillaume was replaced with John Kani as Rafiki, Rowan Atkinson was replaced with John Oliver as Zazu, the late Madge Sinclair was replaced with Alfre Woodard as Sarabi, Jeremy Irons was replaced with Chiwetel Ejiofer as Scar, Whoopi Goldberg was replaced with Florence Kasumba as Shenzi, Cheech Marin was replaced with Keegan-Michael Key as Banzai/Kamari, and Jim Cummings was replaced with Eric Andre as Ed/Azizi the Hyena.
  • The trailer for the movie, which played ahead of Mary Poppins Returns (2018), was screened in the 2.39:1 aspect ratio, although it was shot in 1.90:1.
  • Although it is implied Nala is younger than Simba Beyoncé who plays Nala in the film is two years older than Donald Glover who plays Simba, in the 1994 original Matthew Broderick was less than six years older than Moira Kelly.
  • Several YouTubers view the movie as the most unnecessary of Disney's CGI remakes.
  • Although Timon and Pumbaa are much older than Simba Donald Glover who plays Simba who was born in 1983 is only one year younger than Seth Rogen who was born in 1982 and five years younger than Billy Eichner who was born in 1978, in the 1994 original Ernie Sabella was almost fourteen years older than Matthew Broderick, and Nathan Lane was 6 six years older than him.
  • A group of elephants can be seen Mount Kilimanjaro in the original trailer. This means that the film is set in Tanzania.
  • Jeremy Irons expressed interest in reprising his role as Scar.
  • Seth Rogens third time playing an nonhuman character and the second time, it's animated.
  • Originally 'Be Prepared' was cut from the film but was inserted at the last minute as it was felt it was not right to leave one of the most iconic songs from the film.
  • Nathan Lane (Timon in the original 1994 animated film) and John Oliver (Zazu in the live-action reboot) have also appeared in an episode of The Daily Show (1996).
  • Nathan Lane (Timon in the original 1994 animated film) and Alfre Woodward (Sarabi in the live-action reboot) have previously appeared in The Wizard of Oz in Concert: Dreams Come True (1995).
  • Amy Sedaris' 4th time voice acting in a theatrical film, after Chicken Little (2005), Shrek the Third (2007) and Puss in Boots (2011), the former of which was also from Disney.
  • Amy Sedaris' 2nd time in a film directed by Jon Favreau, following Elf (2003) released 16 years prior.
  • John Kani (Rafiki) was also in The Ghost and the Darkness (1996), which is also about lions.
  • The Moving Picture Company, the lead vendor on The Jungle Book, provided visual effects, supervised by Robert Legato, Elliot Newman and Adam Valdez.
  • Production on the film commenced in mid-2017 in Los Angeles, California, utilizing "virtual-reality tools", per Visual Effects Supervisor Rob Legato. Virtual Production Supervisor Girish Balakrishnan said on his professional website that the filmmakers used motion capture and VR/AR technologies.
  • This will serve as the final credit for film editor Mark Livolsi, who died in September 2018.
  • Benedict Cumberbatch turned down the role, of voicing Scar.
  • Alfre Woodard (Sarabi) was in another CGI Disney movie 19 years earlier as a lemur named Plio in Dinosaur (2000), both her characters are the foster/mother of the main protagonist (Aladar/Simba).
  • The sixth Disney's live-action/computer-animated hybrid film, after G-Force (2009), The Jungle Book (2016), The BFG (2016), Christopher Robin (2018) and Dumbo (2019).
  • Keegan-Michael Key's 3rd Disney film, after Tomorrowland (2015) and Toy Story 4 (2019), the prior of which also released in 2019.
  • Is frequently referred to (quite wrongly) as a "live-action" film, despite not having a single living thing, human or otherwise, actually appearing on screen in it.
  • The film's release date 25 July 2019 is iconic as it falls during the zodiac sign of Leo who is of course a lion.
  • Keegan Michael-Key (Banzai/Kamari in the live action reboot) and experienced voice actor Jim Cummings (Ed/Azizi in the original animated film) would later work together in the upcoming Sony Animation film The Mitchells vs The Machines (2020).
  • Donald Glover's first theatrical voice role.
  • most likely going to be Disney's biggest movie of 2019, not Avengers: Endgame (and perhaps not even Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker). With so many sequels, remakes, and superhero movies releasing this year, Disney is on track to have their biggest year ever at the box office. Of course, the two major players here are Endgame and The Rise of Skywalker, but it's nonsensical to consider The Lion King an underdog in this race, despite the fervent fanbases that Marvel and Star Wars have developed over the years. Avengers: Endgame is regarded as one of the biggest movies of all-time, and rightfully so. As the concluding chapter if Marvel Studios' Infinity Saga, Endgame is projected to break box office records worldwide over its opening weekend. But what about after? This year's Avengers movie faces stiffer competition than Infinity War did in 2018. Rather than competing with another superhero movie (Deadpool 2) and a somewhat anticipated prequel (Solo: A Star Wars Story), Endgame is going up against heavy hitters like Detective Pikachu and Godzilla: King of the Monsters, both of which come from franchises that carry heavy weight in international territories.
  • Celebrating the 25th anniversary of the iconic animated feature, Hasbro is giving a Disney spin to the classic board game.
  • Jon Favreau stated about doing the film, "It feels like we're restoring a classic historic architectural landmark, how do you update it without changing the personality of it? How do you take advantage of all the new technological breakthroughs but still maintain the soul and the spirit of the original Lion King?" he told EW on set. "I think this film is a culmination of all the live-action adaptations that Disney has done of their animated classics. The idea of taking these characters and this music, just as the stage play took it, sticking closely to the story but reinventing it for a different medium I thought that this technology would be separate enough from the animated film that it felt fresh and new, yet completely related to the original. And by the time Jungle Book was done, we had a lot of facility with this technology, so you're hitting that part of your stride where you're saying, 'Now, what can I really do with this?'"
  • Shahadi Wright Joseph (young Nala) screamed when she found out Beyoncé was going to be in the movie, "and when I found out she was going to be playing older me, I really had to step my game up and think about what Beyoncé would want."
  • J.D. McCrary (young Simba) who pads around the Pride Lands as young Simba, gushes, "Donald Glover is so talented that I actually did have to take it into consideration, because if Simba is going to grow up to be some sort of figure and you know of it, you have to keep that motive."
  • Chiwetel Ejiofor says of the towering 6'2 James Earl Jones: "For those of us who grew up with James Earl Jones and his voice, the comfort of that is going to be very rewarding in taking us on this journey again. It's a once-in-a-generation vocal quality."
  • Seth Rogen raves of Knowles-Carter, "I was once shoved aside by her security guards backstage at the Grammys."
  • According to actor Chiwetel Ejiofor, Scar isn't a cool and collected British lion with an angry streak. "He's more of a powder keg ready to explode."
  • In an interview, Chiwetel Ejiofor remarked on how his version of Scar is more "psychologically possessed" and "brutalized" than the one played by Jeremy Irons in the 1994 animated film. The original Scar, whose treacherous character mirrors Claudius in Shakespeare's Hamlet, tended to give off an air of strength and confidence, though there was a violent temperament stirring underneath. But this time around, Ejiofor indicates that his version of Scar is more openly obsessive, frustrated, and enraged. "There's something quite interesting in knowing that you're always holding a lethal capacity," he said. "At the end of it, you're playing somebody who has the capacity to turn everything on its head in a split second with outrageous acts of violence."
  • Chiwetel Ejiofor commented on how important it is that this version has largely cast actors of color. The original film had white actors like Irons, Matthew Broderick, and Moira Kelly taking on the roles of African characters, which has been criticized. This was something that was addressed in the Broadway version (though that too has received some feedback), and Ejiofor noted how important it is that the remake did the same thing: "The Lion King is a wonderful opportunity to bring in a cast of black actors to play these extraordinary iconic roles," Ejiofor said. "Obviously I feel very connected to anything African, because of my heritage, and that's why it's a very special experience to me." Shahadi Wright Joseph, who plays young Nala, agreed, sharing her own personal story of how she identified with the character growing up: "Representation is really important because you have all of these amazing characters inspiring little black girls and black boys. I [know] Nala inspires little girls, because that happened to me when I was younger. I literally said that I wanted to be her."
  • Jon Faverau stated about casting Beyonce as Nala, "I've seen her live and she's a unique talent, to say the least, and when I finally spoke to her after reaching out, although her persona onstage is bigger than life, she's very down to earth and is very much dedicated to her family and having a life that is human-scale."
  • Billy Eichner (Timon) was always Favreau's inspired first choice, a rising talent who has skyrocketed into the comedy elite over the past three years with his bright wit, pop culture expertise, and tantamount-to-Timon quippiness. "He's physically the smallest character, but he has one of the bigger personalities, and I love the combination of those two things," Eichner says. "I kind of played into Timon, as I've done with many characters of mine, [the notion that] he might be small in stature but he has a huge sense of entitlement, which is always funny to play."
  • In the performance of Timon's big songs "Can You Feel the Love Tonight" and "Hakuna Matata" (shared with Pumbaa), audiences will also get acquainted with Eichner's musical theater pedigree, a defining if underused side of his identity as an artist that he can't wait to reveal. "Nathan Lane has a great singing voice [but] he didn't lean into it fully in the original version of The Lion King," he says. "I lean into a little bit more, and I think that's another way that this version is distinct: Timon's singing voice in this version is different than the original, and I think that adds a different flavor to it. When Timon speaks and when he's quote-unquote 'being funny,' he's very loud and boisterous, but the singing allows this vulnerable side, a slightly softer side, especially in 'Can You Feel the Love Tonight' and other moments. So I was glad that they encouraged me to do that because for me personally, it was pretty major."
  • Favreau's encouragement to the cast and crew took several forms, from the first days of pre-production to its current post-production animation crunch, and Rogen and Eichner got to experience their version of it on their very first day on set. The director tasked the pair with performing the entire movie together three times in a black-box theater, twice with script in hand and once without. "Jon said, 'I want you to walk through it,' like we were doing a play, like we were doing a live version of The Lion King -- this was the first thing we did," says Eichner. By the third run-through, when they'd familiarized themselves with the beats of each scene, Favreau had them abandon their scripts and improvise and as of Eichner's most recent viewing of the film, "a shocking amount" of improvised dialogue has remained intact from that session.
  • Rogen describes the Timon-Pumbaa relationship that he and Eichner forged as "a little bit of a married-couple dynamic. They care deeply for one another. They're very, very, very close friends, and like any two -- I'm gonna say people who spend a lot of time together, they start to have things that start to bother one another about each other. Like, meerkats are very quick, fast-paced animals, and warthogs are a little on the slower side. And that dynamic pays off." Plus, Rogen adds, it takes on a whole new shape once Glover's Simba enters the picture and is quickly convinced to live a life of languid luxury: "Donald really added a hilarious element to the dynamic, and I really felt like me, him, and Billy made a bizarre yet very functional comedic trio.
  • Eichner and Rogen knew that a difference in tone would be necessary for the photo-realistic aesthetic style that defines Favreau's film. As Eichner puts it, Lane and Pumbaa portrayer Ernie Sabella kept in their characters the vaudeville banter of the Broadway production of Guys and Dolls they'd just concluded before recording their roles in the 1994 film. In Disney's National Geographic-chic reinvention, the theatrics had to be recalibrated, if not toned down. "Seth and I are obviously not coming out of a production of Guys and Dolls, but I think overall our dynamic is a bit more conversational," says Eichner. "I'm not saying it's subtle, but it is conversational." Rogen echoes the evaluation: "To me the funniest parts are how casual and off-handed our rapport is, in that it really does not feel like we're putting on a show. It just feels like two characters who genuinely know one another very well. And that's Jon's sensibility. Jon is so good at is grounding things. I remember that's why I was obsessed with Swingers when I was young -- it's one of the most grounded comedies I've ever seen. And so Jon was always, in a great way, hard on [us] that it shouldn't feel cartoony."
  • Scar's appearance and role in the film is based on Zira and her biological son Nuka from Simba's Pride. Like Zira he has a torn ear and both serve as the primary antagonist in their respective films. Likewise both Scar in this film and Nuka are skinny looking and have thin looking manes.
  • John Kani has insisted in several interviews that his voice character Rafiki has a different personality than his animated counterpart. According to Kani Rafiki is more of a 'down to earth' and 'no nonsense' character this time around and will take his job getting Simba to see the error of his ways by going back as King more seriously.
  • Timon in the original film always stood, walked, and ran on his hind legs. On the other hand, Timon will be more realistic in this version because meerkats never walk on two legs, but on all fours.
  • Even though the film is CGI animated, alot of the time the actors recorded their songs in the same room, face-to-face.
  • When asked if he had to sing face to face with the Queen B herself, Beyoncé, Seth Rogen stated "yes, yes it did" , and he only had one way to get through it:" A mantra which, apparently, didn't even work because OF COURSE IT DIDN'T, it's Beyoncé we're talking about here!"
  • Beyonce's film debut was Austin Powers in Goldmember (2002) in which she shares a scene with Nathan Lane who provided the voice of Timon in the 1994 original.
  • According to Box Office Pro, the long-range tracking is anywhere between $180M and $230M. Their current projection is almost right in the middle, with the site expecting The LK to open to $201M domestically. If The Lion King does land somewhere in this range, it will have the biggest opening weekend of any Disney live-action remake, breaking Beauty and the Beast's record of $174M.
  • Jon Faverau told the AP that Beyoncé's real-life stage presence also served as inspiration for the character's movements. "Nala is a very powerful character who's a warrior and also has a big heart and encapsulates a lot of different archetypes," Favreau said. He continued, "I wanted the way she was choreographed and with lions and the fight scenes to have a resonance with the power with which [Beyoncé] choreographs her stage show."
  • Although Beyoncé's voice isn't featured in Disney's official trailer for the film, Billy Eichner (Timon) said on Crooked Media's "Keep It" podcast in March that he heard Beyoncé sing on a "rough cut," and that it made him cry.
  • Jon Favreau, the director of the live-action remake previously worked with Fergal Reilly, who was a story artist on the original 1994 animated classic in Sony Animation's first film Open Season (2006) in which they voiced the two beavers Reilly and O'Toole.
  • Walt Disney Pictures' seventh live-action remake and last one of the 2010s.
  • Walt Disney Pictures' seventh live-action adaption to be a remake after Cinderella (2015), The Jungle Book (2016), Pete's Dragon (2016), The Beauty and The Beast (2017), Dumbo (2019), and Aladdin (2019), the prior of which were released in 2019. This does not include Alice in Wonderland (2010) which was completely different and not based on the original animated classic in 1951, the same said for Christopher Robin (2018) which was a sequel to Winnie the Pooh (2011) opposed to being a remake.
  • Billy Eichner (Timon) and John Oliver (Zazu) as well as director Jon Favreau appeared in animated films where studio members at an animation company are listed during the casting call of main cast members outside the credits Eichner was in Penguins of Madagascar (2014), whilst Oliver was in Wonder Park (2019) both films respectively had a character voiced by Ken Jeong additionally Favreau appeared in the first animated film that has a studio member at an animation company mentioned in the casting call of main cast members outside the credits being the first Open Season (2006) movie.
  • In the original Ernie Sabella (Pumbaa) was less than 7 years older than Nathan Lane (Timon, in this Billy Eichner (Timon) is less than 4 years older than Seth Rogen (Pumbaa).
  • It was the prospect of getting inside his head that made Chiwetel Ejiofor really want to play Scar, as he explained: "I was interested in understanding the real psychology of Scar, the psychology of a person who always feels as if they have been somehow mysteriously overpassed by the fates, by the gods themselves. That sense of not being in the rightful place and therefore living in a kind of parallel universe to the one that you're supposed to be in, what sort of psychology would that mean, and what would it go to over a period of time?"
  • "Scar is, simply put, a fascinating character, and the opportunity to examine his psychology and see what makes him tick" is what interested me" Chiwetel Ejiofor said about the role and what he wanted to explore in his performance, wanting to understand who Scar is, why he feels the way he does and how that leads to him doing the things that he does. "It's not a simple psychology because Scar isn't a black and white villain in the way characters like Maleficent (not the live-action one) and Ursula are. He's evil to be sure, but like many great villains, he thinks that he's the good guy, or at least that his actions are somehow justified."
  • As Chiwetel Ejiofor told Entertainment Weekly, Scar feels that he isn't where he is supposed to be, that the universe is out to get him and he is being denied something that he feels he's owed; in this case, the throne. It has shades of Stannis Baratheon's claim to the Iron Throne, but instead of being governed by a strict sense of duty and right, Scar is governed by envy and desire. That psychology results in Scar having a massive chip on his shoulder and crafting a narrative in his head that he's the downtrodden hero that has been mistreated by the world and those around him. And he naturally sees Simba as someone else who stands in his way. Despite being a member of the royal family, this character, inspired by Hamlet's King Claudius, sees himself as an outcast and pals around with the hyenas that also don't have a place within the circle of life governed by the pride. You can see why Chiwetel Ejiofor was so excited to dig into Scar's psychology because there's a lot going on there. Chiwetel Ejiofor talked about what that psychology would do over time, but it's also interesting to ask what birthed those feelings in the first place. Therefore, I'm curious if The Lion King will explore the history of Chiwetel Ejiofor's Scar at all. In the original film, Scar is simply named Scar and we never really get much about how he got his namesake.
  • Jon Faverau revealed in an interview that he brought James Earl Jones back as the voice of Mufasa was because: "I see it as carrying the legacy across. Just hearing him say the lines is really moving and surreal, the timbre of his voice has changed. That served the role well because he sounds like a king who's ruled for a long time."
  • Jon Favreau, Donald Glover, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Alfre Woodard, John Kani, and Florence Kasumba all have roles in the Marvel Cinematic Universe: Favreau directed two Iron Man films and plays Happy Hogan as well serves as executive producer to a majority of the films in the MCU, Glover plays Aaron Davis, Ejiofor plays Baron Mordo, Woodard plays Mariah Dillard as well as Miriam Sharpe in a cameo role, while Kani and Kasumba portrays T'Chaka and Ayo, respectively.
  • This marks Donald Glover and Beyoncé Knowles debut with Disney.
  • At 86 at the time James Earl Jones is the oldest of the cast, he was 63 when he did the voice of Mufasa in The Lion King (1994).
  • According to Roger Allers and Rob Minkoff the directors of The Lion King (1994) said, they knew that James Earl Jones' voice was powerful and similar to the roar of a lion.
  • A decade ago, James Cameron's Avatar pioneered a technique in which actors wearing motion-capture suits could be filmed inside digital backgrounds in real time. Later, on films like Ready Player One and Solo: A Star Wars Story, filmmakers started using VR headsets to examine the virtual world and even plan shots. What Jon Favreau has cooked up for The Lion King transforms VR from a handy filmmaking accessory into a high-powered, improvisational medium in itself, a Pete Becker sized leap forward and a stirring reminder that VR is changing the world in ways you don't need a headset to see.
  • Billy Eichner did not have to audition for the voice of Timon, Jon Favreau happened to be a fan of his and suggested the thought to Eichner's agent who told him about it and he accepted it in a heartbeat.
  • Jon Faverau revealed that hearing Beyoncé sing "Can You Feel the Love Tonight" was "definitely extremely memorable." He added that "all of us just listened to it over and over. And she sings the duet with Donald Glover, who is an incredible talent as well, not only comedically, but also musically. So to hear the two of them together singing this classic song with so much personality and emotion, we felt really confident that people are going to be excited when they heard this."
  • When Favreau was asked about how thrilled he was when Bey joined the cast, he said, "understanding who she is and what she represents to so many people and the fact that she's collaborating with me on this really helps differentiate it from previous productions. It helps give this production its own personality, because she's such an important figure and her musical interpretation is seen as something that people welcome." He also addressed the mysterious new song that Beyoncé sings in the movie, sharing that "it doesn't replace anything." The new Lion King will include all the original songs, but Bey's new track is one "she performed and wrote in the spirit of the production." Make no mistake though: Favreau assures us that the new record feels "organically a part of the new production."
  • In an exclusive interview with Fandango, the much-anticipated film's director Jon Faverau chatted about the one thing I'm sure that entire cast and crew is asked about: What's it like to work with Beyoncé "I was pretty stoked because I knew my stock was going to rise in my home," he laughed. "Dad got cool for about a week there because my daughters and my wife are huge fans and I was introduced to her music through them, and so it felt exciting. And then, you remember, this was about three years ago, and so really understanding who she is and what she represents to so many people and the fact that she's collaborating with me on this really helps differentiate it from previous productions. It helps give this production its own personality, because she's such an important figure and her musical interpretation is seen as something that people welcome."
  • Favreau talked about expanding both Nala's and Sarabi's (Alfre Woodard) role in the film. After all, in a lion's pride, the female lions are the baddest bitches. "In the original film, her role is not as large as in the stage production, and we definitely drew inspiration, and that was one of the areas where we were going to expand this," he said. "There's an opportunity to build upon especially the female characters of Sarabi played by Alfre Woodard and Nala played by Beyoncé that the stage play explores further. It has a lot more time to do so than the original film. That was an area that we could build upon the original."
  • According Favreau, the secret song will be a solo joint by Beyoncé! "We have all the original songs, but there's a song that she performed and wrote in the spirit of the production along with working with Lebo M., who's part of it with Hans Zimmer," Favreau confirmed. "They were all collaborating with her and helping to bring this new piece of music into a film where there's already a very established musical personality to the piece. So it was nice of them to have them working with her to allow the new song to feel organically a part of the new production."
  • nearly half an hour longer than the original 1994 animated version.
  • Of the 14 main characters, just five -- Mufasa (James Earl Jones), Shenzi (Whoopi Goldberg), Rafiki (Robert Guillaume), Sarabi (Madge Sinclair) and the young Nala (Niketa Calame) were black, a casting decision that surely would have raised eyebrows today. Indeed virtually all of the main roles, including Scar (Jeremy Irons), Nala (Moira Kelly) and both the young and old Simbas (Jonathan Taylor Thomas and Matthew Broderick) were all white; all four roles have been supplanted with Chiwetel Ejiofor, Beyonce Knowles, JD McCrary and Donald Glover, respectively. Only three roles that started with white actors have remained so, with Rowan Atkinson, Ernie Sabella and Nathan Lane passing the roles of Zazu, Pumbaa and Timon to John Oliver, Seth Rogen and Billy Eichner. And while Cheech Marin and Jim Cummings' roles of hyenas Banzai and Ed have been renamed Azizi (Eric Andre) and Kamari (Keegan-Michael Key), they are considered direct substitutions.
  • The first Disney remake of a animated canon and the third Disney film overall after Toy Story 4 (2019) and Frozen II (2019) to be streamed on Disney+.
  • Matthew Broderick (Simba), Jeremy Irons (Scar) and Moira Kelly (Nala) were never in consideration to reprise their respective roles as Disney only wanted black actors as the new leads for the remake.
  • Like with The Jungle Book (2016) which was also directed by Jon Favreau, this film was released the same year as a film of Sony Animation's The Angry Birds Movie franchise, The Jungle Book (2016) released the same year as The Angry Birds Movie (2016) and this film came out the same year as The Angry Birds Movie 2 (2019).
  • Like with the Jungle Book (2016) which was also directed by Jon Favreau, this film released the same year as a film of Illumination Entertainment's The Secret Life of Pets franchise, The Jungle Book (2016) released the same year as The Secret Life of Pets (2016) and this film released the same year as The Secret Life of Pets 2 (2019).
  • Like with The Jungle Book (2016) which was also directed by Jon Favreau, this film was released the same year as a Pixar sequel, The Jungle Book (2016) was released the same year as Finding Dory (2016) and this film was released the same year as Toy Story 4 (2019).
  • Original Timon voice artist Nathan Lane had a cameo in 2002's Austin Powers In Goldmember which was Beyoncé Knowles-Carter's feature film debut and shared a scene with her.
  • Experienced voice actor Phil LaMarr (the Impala in the 2019 live action reboot) and Experienced voice actor Jim Cummings (Ed in the 1994 Original animated film) both previously appeared in Zambezia (2012) from Triggerfish Animation Studios as the voices of the Announcer Bird and Budzo respectively.
  • Experienced voice actor Phil LaMarr's 2nd time voice acting in a theatrically released live action film, after Cats & Dogs: The Revenge of Kitty Galore (2010) released 9 years prior.
  • Phil LaMarr's 4th film to take place in Africa, after Madagascar: Escape 2 Africa (2008), Zambezia (2012) and Khumba (2013), all but the former also had him voicing one of the animal characters.
  • Experienced Voice Actor Phil LaMarr (the Impala in the 2019 live action reboot) previously appeared alongside Cheech Marin (Banzai in the 1994 original animated film) in the animated film Hoodwinked Too! Hood vs. Evil (2011) released 8 years prior. LaMarr voiced Wood and Ernesto, whilst Marin voiced the Mad Hog.
  • Chance The Rapper auditioned for the voice of Simba.
  • In the German version, Nala is voiced by Magdalena Turba. Turba voiced Young Nala in the German dub of the 1994 original.
  • Favreau said of casting Ejiofer, "[He] is just a fantastic actor, who brings us a bit of the mid-Atlantic cadence and a new take on the character. He brings that feeling of a Shakespearean villain to bear because of his background as an actor. It's wonderful when you have somebody as experienced and seasoned as Chiwetel; he just breathes such wonderful life into this character."

Spoilers

  • In the original movie the characters to have African names are Simba, Nala, Mufasa, Sarabi, Zazu ,Rafiki, Pumbaa and Shenzi while the only ones to have Non-African names are Scar, Timon, Banzai and Ed. Scar and Timon are the only characters to have their names stay the same in the live-action remake (Scar is assumed to be a Nickname due to the Scar he has), while Banzai and Ed are the only ones to be renamed.
  • The film uses the original songs from The Lion King (1994), it will also feature new songs: from the stage adaptations, "Shadowlands" (Nala leaves Pride Rock) and "He Lives In You" (Rafiki summons Mufasa's spirit to counsel Simba) and two brand new songs written by the original songwriters, "Don't Leave Me" and "Cry of the Pride Lands".
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