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Beyoncé joins cast of “The Lion King” live-action remake

James Earl Jones is back, while singer Beyoncé and comedian John Oliver are among a star-studded cast in Walt Disney’s new live-action film version of the “The Lion King.”

Walt Disney Studios has revealed the main cast for its upcoming live-action and CG adaptation of its 1994 animated classic, “The Lion King,” with singer Beyonce and actor/rapper Donald Glover slated for key roles.

Directed by Jon Favreau, the movie follows the storyline of the 1994 animated film, in which a young lion named Simba grows up on the African savanna after his uncle Scar conspired to usurp his father Mufasa’s place as king.

James Earl Jones, the voice of Darth Vader in “Star Wars: Rogue One,” reprises his role as Mufasa; while the young Simba is voiced by Glover, who recently starred in “Solo: A Star Wars Story.” Chiwetel Ejiofor, lead actor in “Twelve Years A Slave,” takes the role of the villainous Scar.

Beyoncé plays Simba’s childhood friend and love interest Nala; Golden Globe-winning actress Alfre Woodard voices the character of Simba’s mother Sarabi; comedian Seth Rogen takes on the character of Simba’s warthog friend Pumbaa; while John Oliver plays Zazu, the hornbill adviser to Mufasa. Beyoncé voiced Queen Tara in the animated film, “Epic” from 2013.

“It is a director’s dream to assemble a talented team like this to bring this classic story to life,” said Favreau, who has also directed Disney’s “The Jungle Book” live-action remake, which saw actors interacting with characters enhanced with CG imagery.

“The Lion King” (1994) is one of the most successful Disney films of all time — and won Elton John an Oscar for his theme song, “Can You Feel the Love Tonight.” A Broadway musical production of the story has been running in New York since 1997.

The film is expected to first hit theaters in the US on July 19, 2019.

sb (Reuters, AP, dpa)