Fresh from the news that Disney has set a July 19th 2019 release date for The Lion King, THR is reporting that director Jon Favreau may have found his Timon and Pumbaa in Billy Eichner (Billy on the Street) and Seth Rogen (Sausage Party).
The duo are said to be in talks with the studio about joining the project, which has Donald Glover set to lend his voice to Simba and James Earl Jones reprising his role from the 1994 animated movie as Mufasa. Beyonce is also said to be the front-runner for the role of Nala.
Meanwhile, speaking at Tribeca Film Festival, Jon Favreau has spoken about the challenges and pressures of remaking the animated classic, and living up to the expectations of fans:
“With Lion King, people really know [the original], and they grew up with it and it has emotional impact,” said Favreau. “I think about what I remember about The Lion King? I did it with Jungle Book. What do I remember about The Jungle Book? I remember Mowgli and the snake. I remember the snake’s eyes. I remember Baloo going down the river and Mowgli riding on him like a raft. I made a big list, and those are the images we definitely needed… and you have more latitude to shift and change those things. ”
“The Jungle Book was 50 years ago, Lion King was 20, and people grew up with it in an age of video where they watched it over and over again,” he continued. “So, I have to really examine all of those plot points. Also, the myths are very strong in it, so you’re hitting something even deeper than the movie sometimes. What I’m trying to do is honor what was there … There are certain expectations people have.”
The Lion King is slated to begin production in May, so expect plenty more casting news over the coming weeks.