Usually when it comes to casting new versions of classic characters, people focus on the leads. Take Beauty and the Beast for example. It’s far more important who plays Belle than it is who plays Belle’s dad. Disney’s forthcoming remake of The Lion King, however, is in a different boat.
The 1994 animated classic is filled with supporting characters who are just as iconic — if not even more so — than its lead, with the two most crucial ones being Timon and Pumbaa. They’re not just great characters, but they’re also integral to “Hakuna Matata,” one of the most enduring and memorable songs of any Disney movie ever. Hearing new voices sing that Oscar-nominated song is going to be weird for multiple generations, but Disney and director Jon Favreau think Billy Eichner and Seth Rogenhave what it takes to usher in the new era of Timon and Pumbaa, respectively.
Both are obviously no strangers to comedy, so we have little doubt they’ll nail the carefree, comedically inclined nature of the meerkat and warthog that adopt Simba (Donald Glover). Their singing voices, however, are a bit of a wildcard. There’s no way a live-action version of The Lion King is leaving out “Hakuna Matata,” so we imagine both actors are already brushing up on their vocals and hopefully channeling what original voice actors Nathan Lane and Ernie Sabella nailed so well.
The Lion King will hit theaters on July 19, 2019. For a taste of what to expect, watch Jon Favreau’s previous big Disney remake, The Jungle Book.Follow @PeterSHall Follow @MoviesDotCom