Considered one of Disney’s classic animated film, “The Lion King” is returning to the big screen with a live-action overhaul, 25 years after its 1994 release. Hitting theaters on July 19, the tale that features Simba, Mufasa and the rest of the “pride” has been remade as a live-action film for the next generation to enjoy in a different way.
One of Disney’s popular collection of classic animated films, with even a broadway show devoted to the story, “The Lion King” shares the story of Simba, a lion cub who is next in line to be the king of the Pridelands. Simba’s life is forever changed after the tragic death of his father Mufasa, which was orchestrated as a coup by his uncle Scar.
“You should see ‘The Lion King’ because you are obligated to,” said Shahadi Wright Joseph, the young starlet who voices Young Nala. “If you were born in the 90s and grew up watching it. You should watch it for your well being,”
In the new adaptation of the film, Joseph stars alongside JD McCrary, who voices Young Simba. The two youngest actors in the cast are joined by an ensemble of A-list stars, including Donald Glover, Beyonce, Chiwetel Ejiofor, John Oliver, Seth Rogan, and Keegan-Michael Key.
Jon Favreau, who directs “The Lion King,” also directed Disney’s 2016 live-action remake of “The Jungle Book,” which explored the boundaries of what CGI can produce. In “The Lion King,” Favreau surpasses those boundaries with visuals that rival nature documentaries; textures of fur, dirt, and water that were very detailed and realistic
Also, James Earl Jones, who starred as Mufasa in the animated film, returns to reprise his role.
Joseph and McCrary said they were very excited when told they landed the roles of Young Nala and Young Simba. “We threw a party, I thanked god, it was a good day,” McCrary said.
Joseph recounts a similar response.
“My family and I jumped up and down and screamed,” Joseph said. “After that, I was ready to get to work.”
Joseph and McCrary say that with the original film being so popular, the cast felt the pressure to not disappoint with the remake.
“I got a little bit of pressure on social media,” Joseph said. “Everyone was kept telling me how they did not want their favorite childhood movie ruined. I get that, but you’re going to have a totally different experience watching this.”
Fortunately, the remake also holds classic songs from the original, similar to the recent “Aladdin” live-action film, such as “I Just Can’t Wait to Be King.”
“This movie is everything I could wish for,” Joseph said. “I think I would have loved this movie even if I wasn’t in it. You’re going to have a different experience watching it because it is not even close to the 1994 version.”