Why Seth Rogen Has Been Stressed Out Over His Singing For The Lion King

Timon Pumbaa

Seth Rogen has been cast as Pumbaa in the new version of The Lion King coming from Disney. Playing a role in such an iconic movie is likely stressful enough, but as it turns out Rogen's singing is the part that is really causing him grief. The issue isn't so much that Rogen isn't a great singer, though the actor admits he's not, the issue is that Disney apparently brought in Pharrell Williams to be Rogen vocal coach, and Rogen's bad singing is causing Williams problems, which in turn stresses out Rogen. According to the actor...

I literally had Pharrell Williams banging his head against a wall trying to extract like a fucking good note out of me. I'm like 'someone less famous would actually be more helpful.' It's like the last thing I need is like 'oh so you have to learn to ride a motorcycle, we have Evel Knievel here to teach you!' Like I don't want that, just give me a guy!

It's nice to know that Disney spares no expense when it comes to giving its actors the best possible training necessary to do their jobs well. Except, in this case, it seems like it may be backfiring. Those of us who can't sing well usually have no problem singing badly on our own, in the car, in the shower, but if we had to do it in front of somebody it would be stressful. If we had to do it front of Pharell f'ing Williams it would be a lot more stressful.

Seth Rogen does tell Entertainment Weekly's SiriusXM radio show that he believes he's done with his recording for the role, which means that, one way or another, they apparently took care of Rogen's less than perfect singing voice. Either Pharell was able to teach Rogen what he needed to know to sing well, or Rogen will receive a little digital assistance on screen. We know from Beauty and the Beast that Disney is willing to break out the autotune when necessary.

One assumes that Seth Rogen's primary focus was on the song "Hakuna Matata" which was the big number in the animated version of The Lion King that Rogen's character of Pumbaa was part of. The good news, if Rogen's voice turns out to not be great, is that the song is mainly performed by the character of Timon, who will be voiced by Billy Eichner in the remake, and Pumbaa is a supporting voice, which means that even if Rogen struggled to make his singing work, it should be a minor speed bump for the movie.

We'll get to see the end result when the new Lion King debuts in theaters in July 2019.

Dirk Libbey
Content Producer/Theme Park Beat

CinemaBlend’s resident theme park junkie and amateur Disney historian. Armchair Imagineer. Epcot Stan. Future Club 33 Member.