Disney has announced the cast of the the Lion King remake, and South African actor John Kani is set to be one of them, alongside singer Beyoncé Knowles.
The Nothing But The Truth author will be playing Rafiki alongside his co-stars, Chiwetel Ejiofor, as Scar and Seth Rogan as Pumba the warthog. James Earl Jones will play Mufasa, as he did in the 1994 original.
The film is being conceived along the same lines as another recent remake, The Jungle Book, which also saw big names voicing photorealistic computer-generated animals. It is directed by the talented Jon Favreau, and is scheduled for release in July 2019.
“It is a director’s dream to assemble a talented team like this to bring this classic story to life,” said Favreau in a statement.
Beyonce announced her role in a Facebook post that showed head shots of the voice cast, also revealing that Keegan-Michael Key (Why Him?, Storks) will be playing a hyena named Kamari.
The 36-year-old pop megastar is set to voice Simba’s childhood friend turned love interest Nala in the live-action remake of Disney’s The Lion King.
The original Lion King is one of the biggest animated films of all time, with a lifetime global box-office gross of just under $1 billion. The film won Oscars for the song Can You Feel the Love Tonight by Elton John and Tim Rice, and for its score by Hans Zimmer, plus two Grammy Awards, with the soundtrack selling more than 14 million copies.
The stage production made its Broadway debut in 1997 and went on to win six Tony Awards.
Translated into eight languages, the film’s 23 global stage productions have been seen by more than 85 million people. The worldwide gross for the brand exceeds that of any film, Broadway show or other entertainment title in history.
Below is the full cast:
— Disney (@Disney) November 1, 2017