A live-action remake of The Lion King is in the works, and James Earl Jones and Donald Glover have officially been cast in the film.
For Disney fanatics, James Earl Jones is a familiar name — and not just for his role in Star Wars as the voice of Darth Vader. He voiced the original Mufasa in the 1994 animated version of The Lion King. So fans will likely be excited to see him back in the live-action film playing the King of Pride Rock.
James Earl Jones has a rich filmography, stretching back to the 1950s. Millennials probably know him best as Mr. Mertle in The Sandlot. Ever since his success in the Star Wars films and as Mufasa, Jones has been known by many by his voice alone, as noted by Vanity Fair.
“He’s a living legend with an unmistakable, inimitable voice; as long as the 86-year-old actor is available to reprise his role, it would simply feel wrong to see any other actor take on the part of Simba’s wise father.”
Meanwhile, Donald Glover has been cast in the highly-anticipated role of Simba. In the original animated film, Simba was played by Jonathan Taylor Thomas, of TV’s Home Improvement, and adult Simba was played by Matthew Broderick (Ferris Bueller’s Day Off, The Tale of Despereaux).
Donald Glover has made his name known through multiple TV roles — including a long-time run on Community, a guest appearance on HBO’s Girls, and multiple episodes of 30 Rock. He has even appeared in The Martian with Matt Damon, and is in the upcoming films Spider-Man: Homecoming and the much anticipated Han Solo film, where he will play a young Lando Calrissian.
Vanity Fair reported that The Lion King does not yet have a release date, but will be joining the ranks of the numerous other live-action films that Disney has planned.
“In addition to another iteration of the studio’s 1994 animated hit, [Disney is] also planning live-action takes on a horde of films including Mulan, The Little Mermaid, Dumbo, and Snow White, among others. (Oh, and an Aladdin that the studio promises will not star a white guy.)”
According to the Inquisitr, director Jon Favreau came on board in October, 2016. Favreau produced all of the Avenger and Iron Man movies, as well as the TV series The Shannara Chronicles and Revolution. Recently, Favreau has received a lot of attention for Disney’s live-action The Jungle Book. The hope is to make the upcoming The Lion King movie in a similar style to The Jungle Book, which was the first of its kind, pioneering the way in CGI live-action films and, as The Wrap said, was a beautiful success.
“The Jungle Book was also a smash hit, earning $965.8 million worldwide after it hit theaters last April. Other Disney live-action films based on iconic properties include Maleficent [and] Cinderella.”
The Hollywood Reporter said that the remake is being written by Steven Spielberg favorite, Jeff Nathanson.
“[The Lion King] is considered one of the pinnacles of Disney’s animated movies.”
Not only was it a “pinnacle” in the eyes of the public, it also did pretty well in the box office, according to The Wrap.
“1994’s The Lion King is one of the biggest animated films of all time, having grossed $968.8 million globally over its lifetime. It won an Academy Award for the original song, ‘Can You Feel the Love Tonight,’ as well as its original score by Hans Zimmer.”
After the success of The Jungle Book, Disney began pursuing other live-action films. The next live-action remake is set to premiere March 17, 2017, starring Emma Watson, Dan Stevens, and Luke Evans. Disney already expects Beauty and the Beast to be a popular hit, considering their other live-action plans.
[Featured Image by Richard Shotwell/Invision/AP Images]