Queen Bey will soon don another crown: Queen of the Pride Lands.
On Wednesday, Disney confirmed that Beyoncé will play a lead role in its star-studded, live-action remake of “The Lion King.” She will voice the role of Nala, Simba’s childhood friend who develops a romance with him several years later.
The remake is set for a debut in July 2019.
Beyoncé tends to be the focus of attention at all of her performances. But even her most loyal fans won’t be overlooking the rest of the cast.
Simba will be voiced by Donald Glover, with James Earl Jones returning as Mufasa, whom he first voiced in Disney’s 1994 animated version.
Chiwetel Ejiofor, renowned for his role as Solomon Northup in “12 Years a Slave,” will play Scar, Mufasa’s brother and the coming-of-age story’s main antagonist. Alfre Woodard will play Sarabi, Mufasa’s wife and Simba’s mother.
The list goes on: John Oliver, John Kani, Seth Rogen, Billy Eichner, Keegan-Michael Key and others will also recast what remains one of the highest-grossing animated films of all time, generating $968.5 million worldwide. The musical went on Broadway in 1997 and has since traveled around the world. In 2014, a Disney spokesman said the stage musical was “the highest-grossing total in box office history” — at $6.2 billion.
Beyoncé had been rumored as a favorite of director Jon Favreau — fresh from his “Jungle Book” remake — for months. The role of Nala will be her first since voice-acting in “Epic,” a 2013 animated film about a teenager caught between forces of good and evil who must save the world.
Disney has been successful with live-action adaptations over the past decade, most notably with 2010’s “Alice in Wonderland,” 2014’s “Maleficent” and 2015’s “Cinderella.” Earlier this year, “Beauty and the Beast” debuted with a high-profile cast led by Emma Watson as Belle.
“I’m BEYOND excited to be joining Donald Grover, Beyoncé and more in Disney’s THE LION KING,” Eichner tweeted. “With me and Seth Rogen as Timon and Pumba!!!”
Rogen, perhaps already practicing his character’s most iconic line, kept it simple: “Hakuna Matata,” he tweeted.