Whether fans call it live-action or otherwise, nothing is going to stopped the updated animation remake of Disney’s “The Lion King” from premiering this month, mere weeks from now. With its photorealistic computer-graphic animals that really fuel the argument for classifying this film as “live-action” the Jon Favreau-directed future blockbuster is sure to continue the Disney box-office streak with its alternating Disney-Pixar-Marvel-Lucasfilm 2019 lineup. The fact that “Lion King” has quite the all-star cast (and one returning from the 1994 animation) is another bonus. Yet how to market the seemingly-live-action movie where all the viewers would see are talking animals?
The answer, according to People, comes in a series of promotional stills uploaded by Disney to their official Twitter page for “The Lion King.” In two tweets the studio unveiled seven images of the actual cast, photographed in profile, staring face to face with their respective animal character to which they lend their voices. The contrast with the actors and actresses, dressed in black with the dark background, to the more brightly-colored animal counterparts makes for some images that will remain stuck in fans’ heads in anticipation for the film finally arriving in cinemas worldwide.
First in the batch are the head-to-head images of Donald Glover and the main character Simba the lion as an adult, followed by Beyoncé Knowles-Carter staring down the lioness Nala, and Chiwetel Ejiofor as the treacherous antagonist Scar. Rounding off the four photos is the trio of Seth Rogen, Billy Eichner and John Oliver, who respectively play Pumbaa the warthog, Timon the meerkat and Zazu the hornbill. On the second tweet are three images: Alfre Woodard as Simba’s mother Sarabi; another trio of Keegan-Michael Key, Florence Kasumba and Eric Andre as hyena minions Kamari, Shenzi and Azizi; and finally the duo of J.D. McCrary and Shahadi Joseph Wright as Simba and Nala when they were cubs. Notable however is the absence of James Earl Jones as Simba’s father, King Mufasa.
Around the same time as the unveiling of these promotional pictures for “The Lion King,” Disney also released a new featurette called “The King Returns” on their YouTube channel. Here, director Jon Favreau talks of the elements that were assembled during production, from cast to special effects, in order to create a familiar yet new experience for the Disney animated classic in an advanced form. It also included interviews with the cast, particularly Donald Glover.
“The Lion King” is set to premiere on July 19.
Image courtesy of Gizmodo