Disney is still on its remake kick, but who can blame them? The Jungle Book, Beauty and the Beast, and even Maleficent are great. One of the most highly anticipated titles coming out in the next couple of years is The Lion King, and the cast is shaping up magnificently.
The latest cast announcement is John Oliver, who will play Zazu. The British comedian is best known for his work on Last Week Tonight, where he successfully skewers politics, business, and the Joker most every Sunday.
It’s great casting for Zazu. The bird is an advisor to the king. He serves Mufasa, Simba, and even Scar throughout the film, although he’s pretty unhappy when Scar is in charge. The hornbill is an uptight “proper British gentleman”, just the sort of character Oliver plays.
Also, they have the same nose. John Oliver likes to describe himself as “a penguin who works at a bank”, but Zazu might be even better.
Oliver’s casting is just the latest in a string of exciting voice actor announcements. The original 1994 film had some stellar voiceover, and it looks like the remake might be even better.
- Donald Glover as Simba, previously played by Matthew Broderick. Glover is a legitimately great actor. He’s great at both comedy and drama.
- James Earl Jones will reprise the role of Mufasa. Wouldn’t have it any other way.
- Billy Eichner will play Timon (that’s the meerkat), previously played by Nathan Lane. Expect lots of shouting.
- Seth Rogen takes on the role of Pumbaa, previously played by Ernie Sabella. Sabella was fantastic, but Rogen may have been born to play this part.
The Lion King already has a release date of July 19th, 2019. The director is Jon Favreau. At Disney, he previously directed The Jungle Book. Favreau is best known as the director of Iron Man and Elf.