According to sources, Beyonce is the top choice to voice Nala in the remake of The Lion King. The Los Angeles Times reports that the famed singer is the top choice of director Jon Favreau for the role. James Earl Jones will return to voice Mufasa, while Donald Glover has been tapped to play Simba in the live-action remake of the 1994 animated Disney film. Jeff Nathanson will write the script.
Producers of the film say they will accommodate Beyonce’s pregnancy. Beyonce announced in February that she was expecting twins and canceled her headlining Coachella performance due to her pregnancy. The singer will return to headline Coachella in 2018, with Lady Gaga filling in for this year’s performance.
As Variety reports, the upcoming Lion King film will be the latest in a series of successful remakes of Disney classics. Many have featured big name stars, including this year’s Beauty and the Beast starring Emma Watson, Alice in Wonderland in 2010, Maleficent in 2014, and Cinderella 2015. Director Jon Favreau is also working on a sequel to The Jungle Book while The Lion King is in production. The original Lion King released in 1994 was one of the most successful animated features of all time. It pulled in $968.5 million in worldwide box-office sales.
Beyonce has appeared in various films throughout her career. She most recently voiced a character in the animated feature Epic. She is also known for her starring roles in Dreamgirls, the Austin Powers movie Goldmember, and Obsessed. Her potential Lion King character Nala is the best friend and love interest of the main character, Simba. The two perform a duet together, “Can You Feel the Love Tonight.” Various actresses performed the speaking and singing voices of Nala in the animated original Lion King, including Moira Kelly. Matthew Broderick provided the speaking voice of the adult Simba. Other well-known actors to provide their voices in the original included Jeremy Irons as Scar and Nathan Lane as Timon.
The success of the animated Lion King has already inspired many spin-offs and sequels. The musical adaptation has been a long-running Broadway success, and Disney has also released various animated sequels, including The Lion King II: Simba’s Pride and The Lion King 1½.
Vanity Fair argues that Beyonce would be the perfect fit to the role owing to her experience as a voice actress and her daughter Blue Ivy’s love of Disney. Beyonce recently took her daughter to the premiere of Beauty and the Beast. Nala’s role in the original is relatively small, but it’s possible Disney would expand the role if Beyonce were to come on board. The Beauty and the Beast remake included the addition of original songs to showcase the voice of Audra Day, Vanity Fair writes, and there’s no reason they wouldn’t add new songs to The Lion King specifically for Beyonce.
Favreau has also already proven himself to be a financially successful director with his other Disney project. His live-action adaptation of The Jungle Book, which also featured the voices of many well-known stars, earned $1 billion worldwide. Beyonce would also likely take home a big paycheck by lending her voice to the movie. Emma Watson was also able to negotiate a big payday for her appearance in Beauty and the Beast, reportedly earning $3 million plus a stake in box-office sales, which could net her another $15 million.
The singer has also shown interest in movie musicals in the past, including her roles in Dreamgirls and Cadillac Records. Fans of Beyonce would certainly line up in droves if she were to appear in The Lion King remake, but she has yet to confirm or deny rumors that she may voice Nala in the film.
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