Beyoncé Knowles-Carter has officially joined Jon Favreau’s The Lion King, singlehandedly turning Hollywood’s tendency toward live-action remakes into the best thing that has ever happened to cinema.
Beyoncé had been rumored for the role of Nala since March, but considering Beyoncé is the top choice for every role ever created, those first reports seemed somewhat unlikely. But months later, with a questionably formatted cast list and a post on Bey’s own Facebook page, the casting dream has come true. While Bey’s involvement is unquestionably the story of the day, the rest of the cast for the live-action reboot—which will presumably use the same technologies that Favreau brought to 2016’s The Jungle Book—is quite impressive. Donald Glover’s starring role as Simba was announced back in February, followed by news that James Earl Jones would reprise his voiceover role from the 1994 animated original as Mufasa. (No one can replace Jones, even at 86.) They are joined by Chiwetel Ejiofor as Scar, John Oliver as Zazu, Seth Rogen as Pumbaa, Billy Eichner as Timon, Keegan Michael-Key as Kamari, and Eric Andre as Azizi.
The “jaw-dropping” first footage from Favreau’s remake aired at Disney’s D23 Expo this summer and included the entire opening “Circle of Life” segment of the film, which reportedly received rave reviews. It is hard to screw up “Circle of Life,” but still: This remake seems promising. Especially with Beyoncé.