The Lion King Gets Live-Action Treatment
By Jaclyn Cascio (@jaclynator)
In 1994, Disney’s The Lion King took the world by storm. Highly successful, it was adapted into a stage musical that has been impressing Broadway audiences for years. The movie was even re-released in 3D a few years ago. Now, it looks like we’ll be getting a “live-action” version of The Lion King!
Jon Favreau (Iron Man) directed a live-action version of The Jungle Book, which was released in 2016 and made approximately $965.8 million worldwide. Needless to say, it was a success that opened up a world of possibilities in “live action” films driven almost entirely by ulta-realistic CGI constructed characters. In September 2016, after the incredible success of The Jungle Book, Favreau officially signed on to direct a CGI based version of The Lion King.
The live-action version of the 1994 hit will tell the story we have all come to know and love (and weep over). Simba will lose his father, Mufasa, as a result of the deadly jealousy of his uncle, Scar. He will flee into the wilderness but will eventually return to take the kingdom that is rightfully his. (You know, like “Hamlet”… but with lions.) We should also expect some familiar songs from the original animated film, which we all know by heart.
Speaking of Mufasa and Simba, the casting process for The Lion King has already begun. James Earl Jones, the magnificent voice of Darth Vader, will reprise his role as Mufasa, the king of everything the light touches. (Cue fanboy/girl squealing now.) In addition, Donald Glover, creator of FX’s show Atlanta, (who is set to play a young Lando in the upcoming untitled young Han Solo film) has signed on to voice the adult Simba. Hakuna matata, Favreau. You had me at James Earl Jones!
Hopefully, more news about the project will be coming our way soon. My Entertainment World, a website listing upcoming film projects, shows that The Lion King will begin production sometime in May of this year in L.A. With the success of The Jungle Book and now Beauty and the Beast, it is not surprising that Disney would want to get started on another film to tug at the nostalgic strings of our hearts. And according to a report from Cinema Blend from 3 months ago, Robert Legato, the visual effects supervisor for The Jungle Book, has followed Jon Favreau to The Lion King. About the lion-based movie, he said, “It’s the very next one. We’ve already started the plans…”
The Lion King joins the roster of other Disney animated classics being remade into live-action versions, such as Aladdin and Mulan, Dumbo and Cruella. While some of the films already have release dates, we are still anxiously awaiting a premiere date for The Lion King. Definitely keep an eye out for more news as production swiftly approaches!