Excitement over the upcoming live-action remake of one of Disney’s most popular films reached critical levels this past week. The trailer for The Lion King became the company’s second-most-viewed trailer in 24 hours, racking up 224,6 million global views in a single day. The only Disney property to attract more views was the trailer for Avengers: Infinity War, which attracted 238 million views.
The most exciting news about the project is that Donald Glover has lead role of Simba and Mrs Beyonce Knowles-Carter plays Simba’s love interest, Nala. James Earl Jones reprises his role from the original film as Mufasa, while Chiwetel Ejiofor has been cast as Simba’s villainous uncle Scar.
Other cast members include Billy Eichner (Timon), Seth Rogen (Pumbaa), John Oliver (Zazu), John Kani (Rafiki), Florence Kasumbu (Shenzi), Eric Andre (Azizi), Keegan-Michael Key (Kamari) and Alfre Woodard (Sarabi).
The film’s director Jon Favreau will be aiming to top his 2016 success with The Jungle Book remake, which raked in $966 million at the worldwide box office. However, the “live-action” designation is causing some confusion. From the trailer, it’s clear that the movie has been created with CGI, and so most people believe it should be categorised as an animated movie. While a fair conclusion, it’s not necessarily accurate.
The key difference here is that Favreau’s Lion King remake is practically a pioneer in CGI, being a “virtual production”.
It’s not animated in the traditional sense of the word and, instead, has been filmed on a blue-screen stage, as many blockbusters are these days. The Lion King 2019 remake was filmed using traditional live-action techniques mixed with CGI elements. It’s groundbreaking, at least for something of this scale.
The legendary composer responsible for scoring the original film, Hans Zimmer, has returned to score the remake and Elton John signed onto the project to collaborate with Beyoncé to rework his musical compositions from the original film. Queen B is also working with Tim Rice to create a new song for the end credits. Four songs from the original film confirmed for inclusion in the remake are: Can You Feel the Love Tonight?, Hakuna Matata, I Just Can’t Wait to Be King and Circle of Life.
The Lion King is set to hit theatres on 19 July, 2019.