Step back into the Circle of Life! Disney announced the star-studded cast for the live-action production of The Lion King, which is set to premiere in the summer of 2019 — and Beyonce is starring. Disney revealed the complete cast list on their social media channels on Wednesday, November 1, and nothing could have prepared us for this. Atlanta actor and Emmy winner Donald Glover will star in the leading role of Simba, while the “Sorry” singer will portray his best friend turned love interest, Nala. Late-night host John Oliver will portray Zazu, the young lions’ guardian, and mentor.
Beyonce confirmed the news on Wednesday when she shared Disney’s official release on her Facebook page alongside the caption, “#TheLionKing 2019.” Joining the trio is American Horror Story actor Billy Eichner as Timon and Seth Rogen as his partner in crime, Pumbaa. The cast also includes James Earl Jones (Mufasa), Chiwetel Ejiofor (Scar), Alfre Woodard (Sarabi), John Kani (Rafiki), Eric Andre (Azizi), Florence Kashumba (Shenzi), Keegan-Michael Key (Kamari), JD McCrary (Young Simba) and Shahadi Wright Joseph (Young Nala).
Disney first revealed in February that the project was in the works, and Glover and Jones were among the first actors to jump on board. The original animated version of The Lion King premiered in 1994 and became one of the highest-grossing animated flicks of all time with a box office total of $968.8 million, according to Deadline. The movie also inspired a Broadway musical, which won six Tony Awards.