In this summer's The Lion King remake, the African savannah won't be home to just the famed characters already established in the 1994 Disney classic. Audiences will also be introduced to another resident of the pride lands: a cute little elephant shrew voiced by comedian Amy Sedaris.
Amy Sedaris' addition to The Lion King marks the first completely original animal character to the cast not found in the original. Eric André and Keegan-Michael Key also previously joined the star-studded cast as hyenas named Azizi and Kamari, but their characters will replace the animated hyena roles Ed (played by Jim Cummings) and Banzai (played by Cheech Marin). An elephant shrew is a unique and tiny mammal native to Africa with a long nose like an elephant.
The casting announcement by Variety doesn't disclose much information about Amy Sedaris' character or how much of a vital role she will play in The Lion King. It does indicate some deviation from the original animated film not present in first teaser trailer, which was nearly shot-for-shot of the opening scene of 1994's The Lion King.
Amy Sedaris is a hilarious actress who has built up her voice acting resume in recent years, most notably as Princess Carolyn in five seasons of Netflix's BoJack Horseman. The actress has also lent her voice to short roles on other animated television shows such as Star vs. the Forces of Evil and Spongebob Squarepants. You may also have recently seen Sedaris in Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt, where she is a recurring performer, or on her TruTV series At Home with Amy Sedaris.
She perhaps nabbed a role on The Lion King due to her past collaboration with The Lion King director Jon Favreau's 2014 film, Chef. While it's a bit of a mystery about how Amy Sedaris' character will fit into the Disney remake, it's nice to have a bit to be left to the imagination in anticipation for the release.
Following the huge success of 2016's The Jungle Book directed by Jon Favreau, the director was tasked with also reimagining perhaps the most-coveted Disney animated classic in the studio's history. The Lion King is beloved by many for its original story set in the African savannah (loosely based on Hamlet), unforgettable music and many iconic moments. The 2019 retelling brings together a cast of talents to retell the story with hyper-realistic CGI animals in place of 2D animation.
In the upcoming Lion King remake, Donald Glover stars as Simba, Beyoncé as Nala, Chiwetel Ejiofor as Scar, John Oliver as Zazu, John Kani as Rafiki, Seth Rogen as Pumbaa and Billy Eichner as Timon, along other new cast members, with James Earl Jones returning as Mufasa. Following this casting announcement, there will certainly be more to The Lion King then meets the eye when it comes to theaters on July 19, 2019.