Meet the star-studded cast of The Lion King – from Beyonce to Donald Glover

Donald Glover, Beyoncé Knowles-Carter, Seth Rogen, Chiwetel Ejiofor and James Earl Jones lead the impressive cast for Disney's live-action 2019 remake

Beyoncé Knowles-Carter plays Nala 

Beyoncé, Donald Glover, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Seth Rogan… It will be hard for any film to top the impressive voice cast assembled for Disney’s live-action remake of the beloved 1994 animated classic, The Lion King.

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Here’s everything you need to know about the starry cast…


Donald Glover plays Adult Simba

Donald Glover plays Simba
Donald Glover plays Simba

Who is Simba? The future king of the African savanna, and heir to the Pride Lands. Glover plays the adult version of Simba, who must find his way home after being banished by his uncle Scar.

Where have I seen Donald Glover before? As an actor, Glover is best known as Troy Barnes on the NBC sitcom Community, as the young Lando Calrissian in Solo: A Star Wars Story, and for directing and starring in Atlanta. He’s also guest-starred in Spiderman: Homecoming. Glover also performs music under the stage name Childish Gambino, winning several Grammys for his work, which includes the number-one song This Is America.


Beyoncé Knowles-Carter plays Adult Nala 

Beyoncé Knowles-Carter plays Nala
Beyoncé Knowles-Carter plays Nala

Who is Nala? As a cub, lioness Nala was Simba’s playmate and betrothed. As an adult, she’s a skilled hunter and warrior.

Where have I seen Beyoncé Knowles-Carter before? Living icon Beyoncé Knowles-Carter first rose to fame in the 1990s, as part of the girl-group Destiny’s Child. Since striking out on her own, she’s had countless chart-topping hits (Crazy in Love, Baby Boy, Irreplaceable, Single Ladies…) and genre-defying albums (Lemonade, anyone?). She’s also had success as an actress, with credits in films like Dreamgirls and The Pink Panther.

You can hear how Knowles-Carter sounds as Nala in this new teaser trailer released by Disney:


Seth Rogen plays Pumbaa

Seth Rogan plays Pumbaa
Seth Rogan plays Pumbaa

Who is Pumbaa? A flatulent warthog whose bestie is Alvin the Chipmunk. Oops, sorry. A singing meerkat. My bad.

Where have I seen Seth Rogen before? The comic actor and writer has starred in (and co-written) Superbad, Pineapple Express, The Green Hornet, This Is the End. He has also appeared in films including Knocked Up and Steve Jobs – playing Apple co-founder Stephen Wozniak in the latter.


Billy Eichner plays Timon

Billy Eichner plays Timon
Billy Eichner plays Timon

Who is Timon? A sarcastic meerkat who enjoys cross-dressing (preferably in grass skirts). He’s best friends with a warthog, and lives by a certain catchy motto (“What’s a motto?”, “Nothing, what’s a motto with you?”)

Where have I seen Billy Eichner before? Comedian and actor Billy Eichner is best known in the US as the host of comedy game show Billy on the Street, and for playing Craig Middlebrooks on the sitcom Parks and Recreation. He’s also starred in various television shows, including American Horror Story.


James Earl Jones plays Mufasa

mufasa
James Earl Jones plays Mufasa

Who is Mufasa? King of the Pride lands, and father to Simba.

Where have I seen James Earl Jones before? Reprising his role from the 1994 animated original, James Earl Jones is also known for providing the necessary gravelly-voiced timbre to Darth Vader in the Star Wars film franchise. The veteran stage and screen actor has won numerous awards over the years, including Emmys, a Tony, and an honorary Oscar.


Chiwetel Ejiofor plays Scar

Chiwetel Ejiofor plays Scar
Chiwetel Ejiofor plays Scar

Who is Scar? A nasty piece of work. Scar is Simba’s bitter uncle, and second-in-line to the throne.

Where have I seen Chiwetel Ejiofor before? The Oscar-nominated actor is probably best-known for playing Solomon Northup in 12 Years a Slave, Lola in Kinky Boots and Karl Mordo in Doctor Strange.


Alfre Woodard plays Sarabi

Alfre Woodard plays Sarabi
Alfre Woodard plays Sarabi

Who is Sarabi? Queen of the Pride Lands, and mother to Simba.

Where have I seen Alfre Woodard before? The Emmy and Golden Globe-winning actress has recently starred in the TV adaptation of A Series of Unfortunate Events, Empire, 12 Years a Slave and the horror film Annabelle.


John Oliver plays Zazu

John Oliver plays Zazu
John Oliver plays Zazu

Who is Zazu? A know-it-all red-billed hornbill who counsels Mufasa and babysits young Simba.

Where have I seen John Oliver before? The British talk-show host worked as the senior British correspondent for The Daily Show with Jon Stewart, before going on to  host of the HBO series Last Week Tonight with John Oliver, for which he’s won Emmy and Peabody awards.


John Kani plays Rafiki

John Kani plays Rafiki
John Kani plays Rafiki

Who is Rafiki? A wise (albeit eccentric) mandrill who guides Simba on his journey home.

Where have I seen John Kani before? The South African actor, playwright and director is probably best known by international audiences as T’Chaka in the Marvel blockbusters Captain America: Civil War and Black Panther.


Eric Andre plays Azizi

Eric Andre plays Azizi
Eric Andre plays Azizi

Who is Azizi? One of the three hyenas featured in the film, Azizi is an (at times) comic scavenger who pledges his allegiance to antagonist Scar.

Where have I seen Eric Andre before? Actor and television host Eric Andre is best known as the host and creator of The Eric Andre Show. He’s also starred in Don’t Trust the B—- in Apartment 23 and 2 Broke Girls.


Keegan-Michael Key plays Kamari

Keegan Michael-Key plays Kamari
Keegan-Michael Key plays Kamari

Who is Kamari? A hyena outlawed from the Pride Lands, who assists Scar in his plans to overthrow the rightful King.

Where have I seen Keegan-Michael Key before? Best known as one half of the comedy duo Key & Peele, comic actor Keegan-Michael Key has also starred in Fargo, Keanu, Tomorrowland and Pitch Perfect 2. In 2015, he appeared at the White House Correspondents’ Dinner as the character Luther, billed as President Obama’s anger translator.


Florence Kasumba plays Shenzi

Florence Kasumba plays Shenzi
Florence Kasumba plays Shenzi

Who is Shenzi? Originally voiced by Whoopi Goldberg in the animated film version, Shenzi is the leader of the hyenas. She lives in the Shadow Lands along with Kamari and Azizi, and assists Scar in his plans to reclaim the Pride Lands.

Where have I seen Florence Kasumba before? You’ll probably recognise her as Ayo in Captain America: Civil WarBlack Panther and Avengers: Infinity War, but she’s also starred in Wonder Woman and in the TV series Emerald City.

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The Lion King will be released in cinemas on 19th July 2019 in the UK. The new film will launch in most other territories – including America – the same weekend (with one or two exceptions).