The lions of the African savanna are back to reclaim their kingdom. The official, full cast of Jon Favreau’s live-action “The Lion King” has just been released, confirming previous rumors that music icon Beyoncé Knowles-Carter will star as friend-turned-love Nala alongside Donald Glover (“Atlanta”) as future king Simba. Knowles-Carter confirmed her role in a Facebook post alongside a press release from Disney.
The supporting cast of “The Lion King” is a who’s who of Hollywood’s great, with James Earl Jones (“Rogue One: A Star Wars Story”) returning as King Mufasa, Simba’s beloved father. Alfre Woodard (“Marvel’s Luke Cage”) will play Queen Sarabi with JD McCrary (“Tyler Perry’s The Paynes”) and Shahadi Wright Joseph (Broadway’s “The Lion King”) playing Simba and Nala’s younger selves. John Kani (“Captain America: Civil War”) will feature as the wise baboon Rafiki alongside John Oliver (“Last Week Tonight With John Oliver”) as the neurotic hornbill and king’s advisor Zazu. Seth Rogen (“Neighbors”) and Billy Eichner (“American Horror Story”) will play best friends Pumbaa and Timon, the warthog and meerkat who help Simba on his journey to the throne.
But not all is well in the animal kingdom, and Simba is not the only one vying for the throne. Chiwetel Ejiofor (“Doctor Strange”) will be playing Simba’s evil uncle Scar who wishes to steal Simba’s rightful throne. Florence Kasumba (“Black Panther”), Eric André (“The Eric André Show”) and Keegan-Michael Key (“Key and Peele”) are set to play Scar’s hyena minions Shenzi, Azizi and Kamari.
Favreau, who previously helmed Marvel’s “Iron Man” and Disney’s live-action reboot of “The Jungle Book,” will produce “The Lion King” with Jeffrey Silver (“Beaty and the Beast”) and Karen Gilchrist (“The Jungle Book”). The live-action screenplay was written by Jeff Nathanson (“Pirate of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales”), who based the story off the original 1994 screenplay from Irene Mecchi, Jonathan Roberts and Linda Woolverton. Tom Peitzman (“Alice in Wonderland”) and Thomas Schumacher (“The Lion King”) will executive produce with co-producer John Bartnicki. The critically-acclaimed team of artists who will create the film’s animal kingdom includes Academy Award-winning visual effects supervisor Rob Legato (“The Jungle Book”), Academy Award-winning animation supervisor Andrew R. Jones (“Avatar”) and VFX supervisor Adam Valdez (“The Lord of the Rings” trilogy) among others. Composer Hans Zimmer (“Hidden Figures”), who scored the original film, will score the live-action remake.
“The Lion King” roars into theaters July 19, 2019.