Disney has a lot of remakes of their classic animated movies coming down the pipeline, and The Lion King is definitely among the most anticipated. While not live action in the literal sense, the new Lion King will use the same realistic CGI that The Jungle Book used last year to re-tell the House of Mouse's beloved tale in an eye-catching new way. The remake has been gathering its cast since February, and now there's word that Disney wants Doctor Strange's Chiwetel Ejiofor to play Scar.
According to The Wrap, Chiwetel Ejiofor is currently in talks to voice Scar in The Lion King remake. This news comes a few weeks after it was rumored that Hugh Jackman had signed on to voice the feline antagonist, who was previously voiced by Jeremy Irons in the 1994 animated movie. Should a deal be signed, Ejiofor would join a cast that consists of Donald Glover as Simba, Billy Eichner as Timon, Seth Rogen as Pumbaa, John Oliver as Zazu and James Earl Jones reprising Mufasa. Beyonce was also eyed to play Nala, but it hasn't been confirmed yet if she accepted the role.
Chiwetel Ejiofor's cinematic credits from earlier in his career include Love Actually, Serenity, American Gangster and 2012, but he rose to worldwide fame in 2013 for his performance as Solomon Northup in 12 Years a Slave, for which he was nominated for an Academy Award and Golden Globe. Since then, he's built a larger fanbase with The Martian and Doctor Strange. Ejiofor baritone voice would be a good fit for Scar's intimidating personality, and I'm already excited at the idea of his iteration of Scar facing off with James Earl Jones' Mufasa. Ejiofor also demonstrated his singing ability in 2005's Kinky Boots, so it will be interesting to see how his rendition of "Be Prepared" sounds.
The Lion King will follow in Beauty and the Beast and Cinderella's footsteps by being a straightforward re-telling of its animated predecessor, as opposed to a creative departure like Maleficent. Having delivered a hit with the new Jungle Book, Jon Favreau is directing the feature and working off a script written by Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales' Jeff Nathanson. The Lion King kicked off its production earlier this summer, and attendees at D23 last month were treated to exclusive footage that teased what this remake's landscapes and animals will look like, before ending with the classic shot of Rafiki holding up the baby Simba on Pride Rock as "The Circle of Life" played.
The Lion King opens in theaters on July 19, 2019. While we wait for more updates on the remake, look through our 2017 movie guide to find out what's being released during the remainder of the year.