Donald Glover explains why he wanted to do ‘Lion King’ remake
The actor-musician plays the adult Simba in the classic tale.
Earlier this month, Disney revealed the full trailer for its upcoming live-action remake of The Lion King, adding to the excitement that the long-awaited film is set to debut in theaters on July 19. The classic story is being told with the help of a star-studded cast including James Earl Jones (who will be reprising his role as Mufasa), Donald Glover (Simba), Beyoncé (Nala), “12 Years a Slave” star Chiwetel Ejiofor (Scar), John Oliver (Zazu), Billy Eichner (Timon) and Seth Rogen (Pumbaa), among others.
To help build to the anticipation surrounding the upcoming live-action adventure, Entertainment Weekly dedicated its May cover to profiling those involved in the project, including speaking with director Jon Favreau and Glover, the latter of which is fresh off debuting his Guava Island film with Rihanna.
During the interview feature, Favreau explained how he is beyond confident that fans will be pleased with how the cast helped the remake come to life. “It’s almost like we’re relaunching a classic stage piece, casting it in a way that brings a new spin to it and makes it exciting and interesting,” he shared.
Glover echoed his sentiments, adding how the director’s vision helped bring the classic tale into a context that feels just as timely as ever.
“[The Lion King is] a timeless story, but I think the way Favreau has constructed it, it’s a very timely story as well,” the “Atlanta” creator explained. He also added a bit of insight into why he was excited to join the cast and how the project speaks to a larger purpose.
“I just wanted to be a part of a global good,” Glover noted.
Elsewhere during the conversation, the Childish Gambino musician talked about how it was incredible to see how the film was realized utilizing new technology and how Favreau, who previously saw success with his 2016 remake of The Jungle Book, was the perfect person to spearhead such a monumental and cherished project.
“It was really amazing. I’ve never seen anything like it,” Glover said. “To be able to have that type of mobility in an actual world is the first of its kind, I think. How he melded new and old tech was really inspiring.”
Fever also touched on how he was happy to enlist the likes of Beyoncé and Glover, noting how the opportunity allowed them to show off their skills as multifaceted performers and not just as reputed musicians.
“[One thing] I didn’t do for Jungle Book is double-down on the music and find people who were going to reinterpret this and bring something new and fresh to it,” Favreau explained. “Each iteration of The Lion King seems to bring its own spin to the music while still feeling related to what we all connect to as The Lion King. And so having Donald Glover and Beyoncé involved, not trying to create new songs but trying to build on what people remember and love about the old ones, has been really fun and formative.”
Take a look at Entertainment Weekly’s May cover story in full here.