Part of the circle of life is seeing your favorite childhood movies remade as an adult. Disney has been hard at work on live-action adaptations of its animated classics in recent years, and The Lion King is one of the most anticipated on the studio’s list. That is especially true after big casting news was unveiled on Wednesday, November 1: None other than Beyonce Knowles-Carter was revealed to be one of the film’s stars.
The Grammy winner will voice Nala, Simba’s best friend and eventual queen. As previously announced, Simba, the titular lion king, is set to be portrayed by Donald Glover. Like Beyonce, Glover doubles as a musician; he has put out multiple rap albums under the stage name Childish Gambino.
Because the story told in The Lion King spans numerous years, Beyonce and Glover won’t be the only actors to play Nala and Simba. The lions’ younger selves will be played by J.D. McCrary and Shahadi Wright Joseph, respectively. Hard as it is for us older fans to believe, the two actors weren’t even born when the original animated film came out.
The rest of The Lion King‘s cast is impressive as well. James Earl Jones will once again voice Simba’s father, Mufasa, as he did in the animated film, while Alfre Woodard will portray the young lion’s mom. Simba’s malevolent uncle Scar will be voiced by Chiwetel Ejiofor, and Billy Eichner and Seth Rogen are on board as Timon and Pumbaa, respectively. The cast also includes comedians John Oliver and Keegan-Michael Key, among others.
— Disney (@Disney) November 1, 2017
All in all, the final list is great. The casting of Beyonce, in particular, should get fans excited. As one of the best-selling artists of all time, she is bound to make excellent contributions to the movie’s soundtrack. She is also likely to be a big box office draw given the enthusiasm of her die-hard fans, the Beyhive.
The Lion King is an adaptation of the 1994 movie that remains one of the highest-grossing animated films ever. Its voice cast included Jones, Matthew Broderick, Jonathan Taylor Thomas, Moira Kelly, Niketa Calame, Nathan Lane, Ernie Sabella, and more.
In honor of the film’s 25th anniversary, The Lion King will open in summer 2019.