The Voices Behind The Lion King 2019
In the wake of the trailer that nearly broke the internet, The Lion King’s CGI remake has earned Disney the second most views on a teaser trailer. Behind only this years’ blockbuster Infinity War, the anticipation for the film went from 0-100 in one days’ time. The trailer holds to the original film in a nearly shot-for-shot tease, but what excited me just as much as the incredible CGI when I watched wasn’t only the films’ look.
It was the powerful calmness of Mufasa’s voice that sent chills down my spine. I thanked all the Lion Kings who came before him for keeping him on this earth long enough to voice Mufasa in the remake, but he is far from the only voice actor I’m excited about! With an all-star lineup, forget about the CGI! The film’s voice actors will make or break this highly anticipated remake, so let’s dive into the wonderful world of The Lion King’s voice actors!
Meet the Cast
James Earl Jones (Mufasa)– My most vivid memory of James Earl Jones’ original Mufasa is when he takes his young son to the highest point in the pride lands and calmly yet sternly explains that ‘everything the light touches is our kingdom’ and that Simba will someday be king. This is one casting decisions that I am wholeheartedly behind, because we have solid proof that Mr. Jones’ voice is the perfect fit for the Lion King.
Donald Glover (Simba)– It’s a bit of a shame that there aren’t live actors in this film, because I know I’m not the only one who would like to see Donald Glover’s physique grace the silver screen! I, like the Disney casting directors, have to put looks aside for this one though…does he have what it takes to voice Simba?
We know he comes from a musical background. We know he has acting experience. We know his age and youthful voice will contrast brilliantly to Jones’ Mufasa, so what else is left? Well, Glover doubles as rapper Childish Gambino, and the main question right now is whether or not he has the vocal chops to carry Simba. My guess (and hope) is that his smooth tones and youthful voice will lend beautifully to Simba. Hey, maybe Simba and Nala will get a new duet for this film…
Beyoncè (Nala)– She’s one of very few that come to mind whose last name I don’t have to include. Recognizable by that one name, Beyoncè’s casting as Nala raises the opposite questions as Glovers’ casting as Simba. We know for a fact that the woman can sing, but how good are her acting chops?
If it’s like the original film, adult Nala sings once and very briefly during “Can You Feel the Love Tonight?” which is DEFINITELY not enough for me! Maybe this remake’s songs will draw inspiration from the Broadway version of the show, where Nala gets to show off her vocal chops on multiple occasions. Plus, the hope of a Glover/Beyoncè duet is enough to make me buy my ticket today!
John Kani (Rafiki)– Haven’t heard of John Kani? I didn’t think I had either. The African-born actor and playwright’s name isn’t one we recognize stateside, but if you’re a Marvel fan, you’ve definitely seen his work! I know him from his stint in Marvel’s Black Panther when he portrayed T’Chaka, the King of Wakanda- and the Black Panther- that came before T’Challa. His even, reverent tone elicits a feeling of calm, which is definitely needed for Rafiki. It’s the monkeys’ wild, crazy, and downright funny side that I’m looking forward to hearing him act out!
Seth Rogen (Pumbaa)– He’s one of my all-time favorite comedians, and the only thing that is less than ideal about this casting is that children don’t know his name! Rogen’s adult-aimed humor is what made him famous, but he’s created a lasting legacy for himself with that voice- and that laugh! An audio reel of his laugh alone is gut-bustingly funny, and I can’t wait to hear him take on Pumbaa’s half of the iconic comedy duo in this film!
For the first time since Disney remade an animated classic, I’m FINALLY excited! The trailer not only showcases the Disney artists’ unbelievable talent for progressive CGI animation, but also calls our thoughts back to the past with Jones’ Mufasa voiceover. For once, I have hope that this remake will do the original film justice based on the teaser trailer alone. So, after you’ve watched, I want to know what you think! Are you excited for the remake? Leave me a comment and let me know!
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