Additionally, Woodard’s Captain America: Civil War co-star John Kani (best known as Black Panther’s father T’Chaka) has set to voice Rafiki. Robert Guillaume voiced the character in Disney’s 1994 animated classic.
Donald Glover and James Earl Jones are voicing Simba and Mufasa this time around, while Woodard will voice the role of Simba’s mother, Sarabi. The character was voiced by Madge Sinclair in the beloved animated film.
Ejiofor is nearing a deal to voice Scar in the Jon Favreau-directed film, which will also feature Billy Eichner and Seth Rogen as Timon and Pumbaa, and John Oliver as Zazu.
There’s still no word on the voice of Nala, though Beyoncé is believed to be nearing a huge deal to voice the latter character and serve as the Elton John of the new film by producing the soundtrack, which is expected to feature new songs from the Grammy-winning singer as well as old favorites from the original Lion King. That’s why Disney may be saving the Nala announcement for last, because the soundtrack has complicated negotiations and it’s nearly as important as the film itself.
Favreau is producing the live-action remake with Jeffrey Silver, and production is currently under way in Los Angeles. Jeff Nathanson wrote the script.
Woodard recently starred in Netflix’s Marvel series Luke Cage, and she also appeared in Captain America: Civil War, so maybe she just wanted some four-legged co-stars instead of superheroes, for a change. She’ll next stars as the title character in Clark Johnson’s Juanita and she’ll also soon be seen alongside Common and Michelle Monaghan in the indie film Saint Judy.
Jeff Sneider | Editor in Chief