Disney is obviously a massive filmmaking presence, which is always finding ways to enthrall audiences (and make tons of money in the process). Over the past few years, the House of Mouse has capitalized on the trend of nostalgia, adapting classic animated blockbusters into live-action. This all started with Maleficent, and the next big Disney remake is coming down the line is Jon Favreau's The Lion King.
Anticipation for The Lion King has been steadily building over the past few years, after Jon Favreau revealed the all-star cast assembled to popular Pride Rock. One of the brilliant casting choices is Seth Rogen as Pumbaa the warthog, pairing the comedian with fellow funny man Billy Eichner as Timon. But Rogen can barely get through watching footage without breaking out into hysterics. When explaining the pressure of giving The Lion King new life, the 37 year-old actor said:
Same, Seth Rogen. Because while he's privy to way more information and content than the general public, the brief Lion King trailers have overwhelmed moviegoers with nostalgic feels. So he's not the only one who needs a tissue.
Seth Rogen's comments to EW show how everyone involved in The Lion King understands what an important story is being told. The 1994 original animated blockbuster was an insane success, making tons of money at the box office and earning two Oscars in the process. It has a special place in the hearts of countless families, and showed what the Disney Renaissance was truly capable of.
As such, seeing the iconic characters (including Pumbaa) brought to live through cutting edge visual affects is an emotional experience. Shots from the first trailers instantly bring you back to childhood, as Jon Fravreau pays tribute to the Academy Award winning original. But he's still finding ways to surprise the audience, so it won't be a shot-for-shot remake of the animated classic.
As a reminder you can check out the first full trailer for The Lion King, and find yourself transported back to the 1990's in the process.
I'm not crying, you're crying. Actually, Seth Rogen is probably crying.
While the nostalgic feels are already strong for The Lion King, one can imagine that it's an even more emotional experience if you're actually in the cast. Hearing his voice come out of Pumbaa's CGI mouth must be jarring, as he was clearly touched by the original film. Now Rogen has the chance to have the same magical affects on the younger generation, while also paying tribute to the original with older moviegoers.
Very little has been shown of The Lion King, but Seth Rogen is expected to sing out, Louise when it comes time to the classic tune "Hakuna Matata". The trailer is relatively short in length, showing the beautiful world created by Jon Favreau and his animators. But since the new adaptation will arrive in theaters in a few months, we should expect Disney to reveal more shortly.
Seth Rogen's trepidation over The Lion King does make sense, because everyone in the cast has some big (albeit animal) shoes to fill. Disney's original Lion King is one of the most beloved movies in the entire vault, with gorgeous animation and music by Elton John. Movies like The Lion King and Beauty and The Beast helped establish that animated movies could be award contenders, and now we've got an annual category for said film at the Academy Awards.
In the 1994 classic, Pumbaa the gassy warthog is voiced by Broadway talent Ernie Sabella. Sabella had great chemistry with OG Timon, the incomparable Nathan Lane. It's their give and take that made the two comic relief become beloved parts of kids' childhoods. Luckily for Seth Rogen, he was given a solid scene partner in Difficult People's Billy Eichner. Both actors are filmmakers in their own rights, although audiences aren't familiar with their singing voices.
Not much has been seen from Timon and Pumbaa in the new Lion King yet. But there's only been a limited amount of footage offered the generations of fans ahead of the film's release. The duo were seen in the closing moments of the first full trailer, singing "The Lion Sleeps Tonight" as the screen went to black. It's just a tease of what we should expect, and Seth Rogen's signature growl seems like a great choice to play Pumbaa. And it's not like fart jokes are unfamiliar territory to the comedy megastar.
Director Jon Favreau actually shared a new glimpse at the dynamic duo of Lion King characters today on social media. Check it out below, and prepare for your heart to be full.
After a long day of no worries and eating bugs, sometimes you have to cuddle up for some shut eye. The above image shows Simba (Donald Glover) in his adult form, avoiding his problems with his two best buddies. But you can see some longing in the character's eyes, likely because he knows he must return to Pride Rock. All he needs is a certain pop star lioness to get him back into shape.
Fans are eager to see how the new Lion King movie differs from the original, and which iconic beats end up staying in the movie. There are new characters being introduced, as well as music from the long running Broadway show. But the trailers show a real reverence for the first movie, and some shots that are nearly identical.
The Lion King will arrive in theaters on July 19th, with Seth Rogen in tow. In the meantime, check out our 2019 release list to plan your next trip to the movies.
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Corey was born and raised in New Jersey. Graduated with degrees theater and literature from Ramapo College of New Jersey. After working in administrative theater for a year in New York, he started as the Weekend Editor at CinemaBlend. He's since been able to work himself up to reviews, phoners, and press junkets-- and is now able to appear on camera with some of his favorite actors... just not as he would have predicted as a kid. He's particularly proud of covering horror franchises like Scream and Halloween, as well as movie musicals like West Side Story. Favorite interviews include Steven Spielberg, Spike Lee, Jamie Lee Curtis, and more.