Disney, Live Action, The Latest Animation News

Disney’s Live-Action ‘The Lion King’: Production Starts in May + Donald Glover and James Earl Jones Join Cast

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Well, I guess I can say I have written so many of these articles that I can literally do it in my sleep. That is to say, I could literally be asleep at my desk and write this article with no problems whatsoever.

Anyway, Disney’s developing slate of live-action remakes is heating up in the wake of Beauty and the Beast’s big splash at the box office. Aladdin will begin casting actors and will start filming this summer. Dumbo has been casting actors and will begin filming as early as spring. Can you guess what other live-action remake is also casting actors and will begin filming soon?

Once again, a listing on My Entertainment World (as reported by Screen Rant) has revealed that Jon Favreau’s live-action rendition of the 1994 landmark animated film The Lion King will start production soon. Specifically, filming will start sometime in May, and they will shoot in Los Angeles, California.

The site also reveals the synopsis for the film, stating as follows:

Set in the African Savannah, the story told of a young lion named Simba who loses his father Mufasa thanks to his evil uncle Scar, and is cast out into far reaches of the wilderness. Years later, he returns to reclaim his throne.”

So the film will follow the general plot of the original film, to no one’s surprise. What is a surprise is the casting, which if these actors are any indication, appears to be employing a mix of talented up-and-comers and legendary veterans (some of whom happened to have worked on the original film).

As recently announced by Jon Favreau on his own Twitter account, Community alum Donald Glover has been cast in the lead role of Simba:

Soon after, Favreau dropped another major casting reveal: James Earl Jones will reprise his iconic voice role as Simba’s father, Mufasa:

As with other films, you can expect more casting news as The Lion King gets closer to starting production.

Directing from a screenplay by Jeff Nathanson (Catch Me If You Can), the film will utilize Photo-realistic CGI for the characters and the environment in the film. This approach has proved a bit controversial, as commentators in several circles voiced doubt over whether The Lion King (and for that matter, The Jungle Book) can be categorized as ‘live-action’ films.

Whatever your opinion on that is, Favreau’s passion for the film is clearly evident in both his tweets and his interviews about the project. If a ‘live-action’ Lion King movie has to happen, than Disney made a smart move by entrusting the project to him.

What do you think? Do you approve of the casting choices? Should Favreau’s Lion King be considered a live-action movie?

Edited by: Kelly Conley

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About Brandon Smith

Brandon is your average nerd with a love for nerdy things (games, comics, anime/manga, etc.). He also loves reading and writing and plans to be an author someday. For now, he writes with passion and curiosity about the world of animation. He lives with his family in North Carolina and is currently attending college.
  • aquapyro

    Funny you say that. Durning the Oscars discussion on animated films they said that Jungle could have been submitted as an animated film.

    Anywho im pretty excited. Childish Gambino as Simba, man thats exciting and i love Glover’s work on Atlanta. Such a great show. And you can never go wrong with James Earl Jones as Darth Mufasa

  • Manuel Orozco

    As much as I am embracing my inner 90’s baby, I’m not paying to see an all CGI animal cast in live action backgrounds. Jones coming back as Mufasa is going to be surreal.

  • brandon

    Seems like I’ll never get tweets to show up right.


  • Davion Alexander Blackwíng

    Seriously, I don’t understand this. Why all CGI again? I mean, The Jungle Book had a real human, so you could call live action, but this is all gonna be CGI. Why not shoot the backgrounds in Africa? It’ll be great against the photorealistic animals..

    • Manuel Orozco

      5 months after the first announcement, I still don’t understand it either. I didn’t even bother seeing Jungle Book anyway.

  • I really like the casting of Donald Glover as Simba (really excited to see him in the Han Solo movie!!) and I do understand why they would cast James Earle Jones to be Mufasa again but wouldn’t you want to try to be different? I just find it a little strange they recasted him but also kinda happy since he was just phenomenal in the original!!
    This is going to be an interesting project to see what kind of “unique” ways they’ll put on this, I hope its not just an exact copy but with a live action-esque feel, that’d be my only concern
    But very confident in the director no doubt 🙂

    • Manuel Orozco

      I doubt it’ll be a carbon copy completely but shot by shot would be totally unsurprising. Jon Faveru is a fine director since I’ve seen his work on Elf, Zathura and Iron Man 1.

  • Sebastian

    I am so done with this. It doesn’t matter if he brings back the original cast and what’s worse is that of course this movie will bring up a lot of controversy when it releases. I’m happy Ive resisted BATB I might have seen Jungle Book and maybe I could re-consider Christopher Robin but yeah I’m very much done with this trend by now.

    I still don’t believe that this movie will leave a positive impact when it comes out. Only a lot of more bias and angry tweets circling around social media.

    • Manuel Orozco

      I’m not completely done yet since I still got Mulan, Aladdin and Snow White to look forward to.

  • Landon Kemp

    Have I mentioned how much I despise this trend and how much I want it to end in spite of everyone that keeps throwing money at these phoned-in remakes?

    • brandon

      Two things.

      First, I’m getting tired of repeating myself so here is my copy-and-paste statement on the matter: “When these movies stop making MONEY, Disney will stop making them.”

      Second, there is an article coming up explaining why Disney is pursuing all these remakes. All I can say right now is that it’s not really a trend they are chasing. Disney is explicitly doing this for a reason and for their live-action film division, it’s essentially their current mandate.

      • Landon Kemp

        Yes, I am aware of that, hence why I said “in spite of everyone that keeps throwing money at these phoned-in remakes”, because I know that these damn things make money. I don’t know WHY exactly they make so much money outside of exploiting the nostalgia of people that grew up with the originals, but they do. I’m just hoping people will wise up and that one of these will bomb so badly that it finally puts an end to this practice.

        “Disney is explicitly doing this for a reason”. Yeah, and that reason is money, money and more money. No big surprise, it’s all about the money and the charts with these greedy corporate types and nothing else. They don’t care about the incredible legacy of this studio, they don’t care that this move is tarnishing these timeless classics, all they care about is the green they’re making. This is the modern day equivalent to all those direct-to-DVD sequels that came out in the 2000s. God forbid they actually re-release the original movies in theaters, no no no, they gotta make them more “relevant” or whatever nonsense they want to throw at us. Unless they do a remake of The Black Cauldron that’s a more faithful adaptation of the books, then count me out of this trend.