With Jon Favreau’s reimagining of The Lion King, Disney is opting to go with a photorealistic feel as opposed to the classic animated style of the original film. There are entirely new actors in the iconic roles, bringing new voices to the animals for a new generation to fall in love with. That said, this remake still looks to be keeping a lot of the original film in intact, including much of the beloved Lion King soundtrack. And let’s be honest, you can’t have The Lion King without “Hakuna Matata.”
The song became an instant classic when the animated Lion King was first released, and the love for it hasn’t slowed down since. Everyone still knows Timon and Pumbaa’s anthem by heart. Although the new Lion King doesn’t hit theaters for another week, Disney has released an extended clip of the “Hakuna Matata” performance from Donald Glover, Billy Eichner, and Seth Rogen. You can check it out in the video above!
Usually when actors record their voices for animated films they go to the studio on their own, accompanied by only the director and sound tech. However, the trio of Eichner (Timon), Rogen (Pumbaa), and Glover (Simba) often went to the studio together, allowing them to improv and riff off of one another and create more genuine performances.
“We were actually together. That was really different, and you can tell when you watch the movie,” Rogen told Variety. “Our rapport is incredibly naturalistic, and we really play off one another in a way that would have been impossible if we weren’t actually there in the room together. Weirdly it’s one of the most naturalistic performances I’ve ever given, and I play a warthog.”
“It’s a beautiful transformation,” Eichner joked. “Seth is absolutely right: Usually because of logistics or people’s schedules, you record your part separate from the other voice actors, and they just edit it together in post and make it sound like you were all in the same room. For this movie, we were always together. Even the scenes with Donald, we were all there for Hakuna Matata. It allowed us to really lean into our improv skills. I haven’t seen the final cut, but from the rough cut we’re overlapping with each other so you can just sense we’re in the room together. It makes all the difference in the world.”
What did you think of the “Hakuna Matata” clip? Are you looking forward to The Lion King? Let us know in the comments!
Disney’s The Lion King arrives in theaters on July 19th.
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