Jon Favreau 'moved' by James Earl Jones

  • Bang Showbiz
  • 3 July 2019
James Earl Jones

James Earl Jones

Jon Favreau found it "moving and surreal" hearing James Earl Jones record his vocals for 'The Lion King' as he has reprised his role as Mufasa from the original 1994 animation

Jon Favreau found it "moving and surreal" hearing James Earl Jones record his vocals for 'The Lion King'.

The 88-year-old actor voiced Mufasa in the original animated film and the director of the upcoming live action take on the story was keen to keep the "legacy" of the original film by asking James to take on the part again.

He said: "I see it as carrying the legacy across. Just hearing him saying the lines is moving and surreal."

And with 25 years having past since the animation was released, Jon thinks the changes to James' voice worked well with his film.

He added to Empire magazine: "The timbre of his voice has changed.

"That served the role well because he sounds like a king who's ruled for a long time.

"He sounds like someone passing the torch from one generation to the next."

Billy Eichner and Seth Rogen have taken on the roles of Timon and Pumbaa and found it daunting to follow in the footsteps of Nathan Lane and Ernie Sabella.

Billy said: "Nathan Lane was my hero ever since I was a child. Playing a role he'd played was thrilling, but terrifying.

"Seth and I would look at each other, like, 'Thank God you're here and I don't have to do it alone.' "

And the two actors were relieved that the director allowed them to improvise their scenes.

Billy added: "Both Seth and I come from the comedy world and we like to improvise.

"At first we'd read with the script in our hands but that made us stiff.

"Then Jon said, 'Throw down your script, start from the beginning and just go through it. Try to remember the beats but the actual words aren't important.' "

The Lion King

  • 3 stars
  • 2019
  • US
  • 1h 58min
  • PG
  • Directed by: Jon Favreau
  • Cast: Donald Glover, Seth Rogen, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Alfre Woodard, Billy Eichner, John Kani, John Oliver, Beyoncé Knowles-Carter, James Earl Jones
  • UK release: 19 July 2019

The photorealistic version of the beloved Disney story has memorable visuals, impressive set-pieces and adorable yet credible animals, but precisely because they’re so realistic, it’s weird when they speak and even stranger when they sing. All the star voices in the world don’t count when you can’t simulate heart and soul.

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