Keegan Michael-Key Is Dreading Lion King Press Over Beyonce Questions

Scar and the hyenas in The Lion King

Disney is a behemoth studio, consistently making tons of money at the box office through critically acclaimed movies. One of the methods the House of Mouse has taken in recent years is live-action adaptations of animated blockbusters. It's largely began with Maleficent, and the trend will make another big splash with Jon Favreau's The Lion King remake.

Jon Favreau assembled a fantastic cast for The Lion King, with household names taking on every single iconic character from the animated classic. Keegan-Michael Key is playing Kamari, one of Scar's the three hyena sidekicks. While the Key and Peele actor is thrilled to be in such a major summer release, Key recently revealed one aspect he's not looking forward to: the press. Mainly, because everyone is going to be so worried about Beyonce's role as Nala. As he put it:

I mean, it’s Beyonce Knowles. I’m not looking forward to the press for this movie because you’re just gonna be on the carpet, and they’re just gonna go ‘So Lion King… Beyonce! So Beyonce’s in it!’

I mean, he's not wrong. Beyonce's role in The Lion King has been one of the most highly anticipated aspect of the upcoming blockbuster. So once the press tours begin, Michael Keegan-Michael Key is bound to field countless question about the diva's performance as female protagonist Nala.

Keegan-Michael Key joked about Beyonce's eclipsing presence on a recent appearance on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon. Key is in two massive animated blockbusters this summer: Toy Story 4 and The Lion King. It's an exciting time, although he admitted that press might not be fun for the latter movie-- despite his excitement to play Kamari.

Related: Lion King Director Jon Favreau Explains Why He Brought James Earl Jones Back As Mufasa

With The Lion King arriving in theaters next month, the marketing campaign has been slowly revealing footage from the highly anticipated animated blockbuster. Beyonce recently got her first line in a quick trailer, pleading with Simba to return to Pride Rock and his place as King. Fans are eager to see what Queen B does with the character, especially her big song "Shadowland", which is being added to the movie after debuting in the long-running Broadway musical adaptation.

During his conversation with Jimmy Fallon, Keegan-Michael Key admitted he wasn't personally singing in The Lion King. While the hyenas typically sing backup to Scar in "Be Prepared", he didn't record any lines in the upcoming movie. But Key is getting to break new ground for the character.

You can check out Keegan-Michael Key's chat with Jimmy Fallon on The Tonight Show below.

Keegan-Michael Key's role in the original Lion King was named Ed, and was a blabbering non-verbal clown that was a foil to his more capable buddies Shenzi and Banzai. But the Hyenas are reportedly being changed significantly in the new version, allowing the actors to live in their characters and even have the ability to improvise.

We'll be able to see Keegan-Michael Key and Beyonce once The Lion King hits theaters July 19, 2019. In the meantime, check out our 2019 release list to plan your next trip to the movies.

Corey Chichizola
Movies Editor

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.