East Hampton resident Beyoncé has joined Disney’s live-action version of The Lion King. The singing superstar will play Nala, the romantic interest of Simba, the film’s protagonist. Directed by Jon Favreau, the musical drama also stars Atlanta star Donald Glover, James Earl Jones, Seth Rogen and Alfre Woodard (Luke Cage).
The film will feature the songs from Disney’s original 1994 animated feature, which was scored by Hans Zimmer, who has returned to score the new version. It marks yet another entry in a growing and well received list of live action takes on animated Disney classics. So far, Disney has made live action versions of Alice in Wonderland, Maleficent, Cinderella, The Jungle Book and Beauty and the Beast to great acclaim.
The Lion King animated film became an almost instant classic alongside films such as Alice in Wonderland and Snow White. The film starred Hamptonite Matthew Broderick as Simba and Jones—who reprises his role for the live action remake—as his father Mufasa. It grossed some $968,483,777 worldwide, according to Box Office Mojo, making it the 29th highest grossing film of all time and the seventh highest grossing animated film.
A Broadway musical of The Lion King, directed by Julie Taymor debuted in 1997 and won the 1998 Tony Award for Best Musical in 1998. It became the top grossing title in box office history, for stage and film, in 2014 with a worldwide gross of more than $6.2 billion, according to the Associated Press, and the live action film will only increase that number.
Glover, who recently won an Emmy Award for his FX show Atlanta, plays Simba, while Billy Eichner (Billy on the Street, Difficult People) and Rogan play the lovable Timon and Pumbaa. John Oliver plays Zazu, Woodard plays Simba’s mother Sarabi, and Chiwetel Ejiofor (Doctor Strange, 12 Years a Slave) plays the villain Scar, a character Jeremy Irons played brilliantly in the original.
Filming for the live action The Lion King began over the summer and it’s set for release on July 19, 2019.
Here’s a fun, fan-made trailer for the live action The Lion King. This is not real, but it’s an interesting look at what it might be like—minus Beyoncé‘s magical voice, of course.