We recently got invited to Disney’s The Lion King Global Press Conference. The press conference kicked off with an incredible choral performance of “The Circle of Life” with lead soloists Lebo M and Clydene Jackson.
Then, we were introduced to the phenomenal cast and creators who worked on this project. Starting with Jon Favreau, he explained his journey from The Jungle Book to the making of The Lion King. He described how despite the evolution of technology with these films, animators worked on them shot for shot. He, then, would have the cast perform in groups on a stage like a play production. He described the process by saying, “… we would cut from that and we would shoot video on long lenses just to have reference of what they were doing with their faces.” He wanted to make sure that the emotion still came through in the performance mixed with the technology. Favreau, then expressed his appreciation for all that worked on this project.
Next, we moved onto Donald Glover who plays Simba. Glover expressed how grateful he was to Jon for focusing on the meaning of The Circle of Life. He stated, “I really feel that it’s good to make movies that are global and metropolitan in the sense of citizens of the world. Like making sure that we talk about like how connected we are right now.”
Chiwetel Ejiofor had this to say about voicing Scar, “…it’s such and incredible part to play. And so complex and all of that. And having empathy, not sympathy, but empathizing with the character and trying to understand them and trying to get underneath that. And such a rich, villainous character to play. So a wonderful experience to me.”
The comedic duo that brought Timon and Pumbaa to life commented on their dynamic and how recording together helped their performances. Seth Rogen commented on working with Billy Eichner, “I think you can really tell that we’re playing off of each other. It’s and incredibly naturalistic feeling.” Eichner responded with, “Being able to riff off each other and really discover our chemistry together in the same moment. You can feel it when you’re watching the movie.”
Perhaps one of the more familiar aspects, aside from the story, of The Lion King is the music. Hans Zimmer, along with Pharrell Williams and Lebo M, all lended their musical genius to breathe new light into this famous score. Hans Zimmer explained how he wanted the audience to feel like they were being transported to Africa and wanted to feel as if you were on a journey.
Join in on the journey and see Disney’s The Lion King, in theaters on July 19.
Photos by our friend and Disney correspondent, Eric: @dorkydisneydad
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