Billy Eichner: ‘Jon Favreau had The Lion King cast physically act out scenes’

Director Jon Favreau had the cast physically act out scenes from The Lion King while recording, according to Billy Eichner.The Billy On The Street funnyman voices Timon, alongside Seth Rogen’s warthog Pumbaa, in Disney’s live-action remake of the 1994 …

Director Jon Favreau had the cast physically act out scenes from The Lion King while recording, according to Billy Eichner.

The Billy On The Street funnyman voices Timon, alongside Seth Rogen’s warthog Pumbaa, in Disney’s live-action remake of the 1994 animated classic.

In an interview with British newspaper The Independent, Eichner gave an insight into the unusual way that Favreau got the star-studded cast, including Donald Glover, Beyonce, John Oliver, James Earl Jones, and Chiwetel Ejiofor, to record their voices for the movie.

“It was very unexpected. Jon had this whole performance room set up with cameras all around the perimeter and microphones all over, recording everything we did, and he actually had us physically act out all the scenes,” the 40-year-old New York native shared.

“At one point, he had us throw the scripts down and improvise through the entire movie. And a lot of that actually ended up in the final product.”

Eichner explained that he thought the cast needed to do something “more conversational” to help give character to the computer-generated animals onscreen.

“We still have our larger-than-life, over-the-top moment, but it’s a bit scaled down from what the original was,” he stated.

That meant that the comedy double act of Eichner and Rogen could let their funny side shine through in their roles as neurotic meerkat Timon and loveable warthog Pumbaa.

“I think that was part of the fun,” the Knocked Up star shared. “Being able to weave in and out of new material and kind of make people think maybe they were going to get the same joke, but then being able to switch it just enough that it felt a little unexpected and therefore funny.”

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Donald Glover almost had a cameo in Spider-Man: Far From Home

The Spider-Man: Far From Home screenwriters considered bringing Donald Glover back for a cameo appearance.The 35-year-old actor briefly appeared in Spider-Man: Homecoming in 2017 as petty thief Aaron Davis. While screenwriters Chris McKenna and Erik S…

The Spider-Man: Far From Home screenwriters considered bringing Donald Glover back for a cameo appearance.

The 35-year-old actor briefly appeared in Spider-Man: Homecoming in 2017 as petty thief Aaron Davis.

While screenwriters Chris McKenna and Erik Sommers considered bringing the fan favourite character back for a cameo in the latest instalment, that plan was ultimately scrapped because it didn’t fit with the film’s storyline, which follows Tom Holland’s Peter Parker / Spider-Man as he goes on a disastrous school trip to Europe.

“We definitely considered that. We definitely thought, ‘How great it would be to bring back Aaron Davis again?'” McKenna told The Hollywood Reporter. “Other considerations come in. We went down that road a little bit, then the movie really spent such little time in Queens and gets to Europe pretty quickly. Some ideas you just have to give up.

“That’s really what it came down to. We loved that character and we wanted to do it, but we just wanted to get out of New York and get on the trip as soon as possible,” Sommers added. “There were several things we would have loved to do in New York before he left, but we just didn’t have time.”

On the topic of cameos, the screenwriting duo also admitted that they didn’t even consider asking Robert Downey Jr. to come in and shoot new footage as Tony Stark / Iron Man for a flashback because the new Marvel film, the first one since Stark’s death in Avengers: Endgame, deals with Peter coping with that loss.

“He is so beloved, and we definitely talked about so many things, but at some point, it’s about the absence of a person and about the loss of that person. If you show that person and that person has such a presence, does it fight trying to portray the loss?” Sommers explained.

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Jon Favreau encouraged The Lion King team to make visuals ‘uglier’   

Jon Favreau encouraged The Lion King team to make the visual effects “uglier” so they would seem more realistic.Following on from the success of his 2016 remake of The Jungle Book, the Iron Man actor and director was picked to helm the photorealist…

Jon Favreau encouraged The Lion King team to make the visual effects “uglier” so they would seem more realistic.

Following on from the success of his 2016 remake of The Jungle Book, the Iron Man actor and director was picked to helm the photorealistic reboot of the 1994 Disney classic.    

Favreau was determined to make the scenes look as realistic as possible, like they were shot by a camera in the traditional way rather than made in a studio, and so he made sure none of the scenes being created looked too perfect.    

“You evaluate shots differently from the days before CGI (computer generated imagery),” he told Britain’s Daily Telegraph. “Nowadays, the minute you reach the VFX (visual effects) machine, you instinctually think, ‘Let’s put a perfect sky behind that perfectly lit close-up.’ But though everyone might gasp at the result in the edit, it doesn’t look like something you’d ever be able to shoot.”    

Accordingly, he urged the team to “make it uglier… have the fast-moving characters go a little out of focus, cast awkward shadows, muddy the clouds up a bit.”   

The 52-year-old looked to nature documentaries made by British broadcaster David Attenborough for inspiration about how the animals should behave onscreen.    

“There’s a common acceptance that this is how nature looks,” Favreau explained. “So, we’re trying to import that sense of realism by borrowing their techniques.”   

While the audiences will be watching the antics of Simba and Nala, voiced by Donald Glover and Beyonce, Favreau insisted the background details are just as important as the characters when it comes to maintaining the film’s realism.    

“You’d be amazed by how much the boring things matter,” he continued. “The way different-sized rocks are scattered in canyons, the paths carved by water, the light on fur. When you get all these things right at once, it’s like seeing a really good magic trick. Your brain can’t process what’s actually going on, so emotion takes over.”   

The Lion King hits cinemas from 12 July.  

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Film critics praise live-action The Lion King following premiere

Film critics have praised the new The Lion King movie following its world premiere on Tuesday night.Directed by Jon Favreau, the musical drama is a photorealistic remake of Disney’s 1994 animated classic of the same name, and features the voices of Don…

Film critics have praised the new The Lion King movie following its world premiere on Tuesday night.

Directed by Jon Favreau, the musical drama is a photorealistic remake of Disney’s 1994 animated classic of the same name, and features the voices of Donald Glover, Beyonce, Seth Rogen, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Alfre Woodard, Billy Eichner, John Oliver, Amy Sedaris, and James Earl Jones.

Many of the stars attended the debut screening at the Dolby Theatre in Los Angeles, and in the hours after the premiere, many top reviewers took to social media to laud the production.

Steven Weintraub, editor-in-chief of Collider.com, wrote on Twitter that he had never seen a film receive such applause.

“Been lucky to have attended a number of world premieres but not sure I’ve ever heard as much clapping during a movie as I did tonight at #TheLionKing. Was like being at a rock concert. Movie is going to make so much money,” he wrote. “A few other things on #TheLionKing. The visual effects/animation in the film is INCREDIBLE. For the first time in maybe my entire life as the movie started I got really emotional. Just hearing the music wrecked me. While it’s a story you know, it’s soooooo well done.”

Writer Dorian Parks commented that the rebooted film might be his “favourite” Disney live-action adaptation to date, and Nerdist’s Rachel Heine claimed it brought her to tears.

“Absolutely blown away by #TheLionKing. Incredible visuals and voice work. Cried all my make-up off. Timon and Pumba brought me back from the edge. Would die for baby Simba,” she wrote.

Elsewhere, Mashable’s Angie J. Han lauded the film’s animation, but noted that it’s a “more nostalgic rehash than fresh reimagining,” and Buzzfeed reporter Adam B. Vary shared that while Beyonce is perfectly suited for her voice-acting role as Nala, he questioned if audiences would find an emotional connection to the story.

“#TheLionKing is a landmark *visual* experience. I’ve never seen anything like it, and I think it’s going to change how we look at movies forever. As an *emotional* experience, though…I’ll put it this way: It turns out lions can’t really emote,” he mused.

The Lion King is set to his cinemas from 19 July.

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Donald Glover’s son was more excited for Beyonce in The Lion King

Donald Glover’s son was more excited over Beyonce starring in The Lion King than his father.The 35-year-old, who voices the older Simba in Jon Favreau’s live-action remake of the 1994 Disney animated classic, has revealed that his son Legend cheekily o…

Donald Glover’s son was more excited over Beyonce starring in The Lion King than his father.

The 35-year-old, who voices the older Simba in Jon Favreau’s live-action remake of the 1994 Disney animated classic, has revealed that his son Legend cheekily overlooked his huge role in the highly-anticipated movie.

“This is my son’s favourite movie. He’s like a big animal person,” Glover told Entertainment Tonight. “I wasn’t going to tell him that I was in it. I was just going to let him see it and see what happened. And I was like, ‘Hey, do you want to see The Lion King?’ And he said, ‘Yeah, Beyonce’s is in it, right?’ And I was like, ‘Yeah, daddy’s in it too, though. Daddy’s in it.’

“(Beyonce’s) demo is wide-reaching. He’s super excited about it.”

In addition, the Atlanta actor noted that he still can’t believe he’s a major part of the live-action film and was stunned when director Favreau asked him to voice Simba.

“It’s a big deal for me. It’s a special moment for me,” the star gushed. “For me, I’ve been in the business for a while, but to be able to work with Beyonce, James Earl Jones, Jon Favreau, like, iconic people in this business, it’s an amazing feeling. It’s a lot of good people.

“Jon did a really good job. I still can’t believe he kind of asked me… I thought he was going to (ask me) can I sign something for his son, who I heard was a fan, and then he was like, ‘Do you want to be Simba?’ And I was like, ‘Me? You really want me to do that?’ I’m just glad he asked.”

The Lion King hits cinemas from 19 July.

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Elton John unveils new song for The Lion King soundtrack

Elton John has written a new song for the soundtrack of Disney’s The Lion King remake.The tune, titled Never Too Late, was penned by the British rocker and Grammy Award-winning lyricist Tim Rice, who previously created the musical numbers for the 1994 …

Elton John has written a new song for the soundtrack of Disney’s The Lion King remake.

The tune, titled Never Too Late, was penned by the British rocker and Grammy Award-winning lyricist Tim Rice, who previously created the musical numbers for the 1994 original together. Described as an “uplifting” song, Never Too Late has been performed by John with backing vocals from an African choir and is set to appear during the film’s end credits.

The soundtrack also features new versions of memorable songs from the animated film, such as a I Just Can’t Wait to Be King, Circle of Life, and Can You Feel the Love Tonight, which have been given a new lease of life from performers like Beyonce, Donald Glover, Brown Lindiwe Mkhize, Lebo M. and John Oliver.

“Just hearing that music strikes you deeply,” director Jon Favreau said in a statement. “Even if you don’t know the film or stage show, there is a spiritual strength in it. But if you know the film, and if you grew up with this music – now it can suddenly and immediately evoke the story itself, as well as all the connected memories and emotions that you have from your own past experience with The Lion King, or from the time of your life that you were in, or your childhood, or the life events it’s connected to.”

A veil of secrecy still hangs over the 14th track on the album, with many fans speculating this is the song Beyonce, who voices Nala in the film, has reportedly written for the movie.

Favreau recently revealed Beyonce “performed and wrote” the new song “in the spirit of the production” and teamed up with composer Hans Zimmer to “bring this new piece of music into a film where there’s already a very established musical personality to the piece”.

The digital soundtrack is to be released on 11 July, while the physical album is set to hit shelves on 19 July, the same day The Lion King opens in U.S. cinemas.

And should Never Too Late be a hit, it’s possible John will have two songs nominated in the Best Original Song category at the Oscars, as he and his longtime lyricist Bernie Taupin also created (I’m Gonna) Love Me Again for the soundtrack of his biographical movie Rocketman.

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Elton John unveils new song for The Lion King soundtrack

Elton John has written a new song for the soundtrack of Disney’s The Lion King remake.The tune, titled Never Too Late, was penned by the British rocker and Grammy Award-winning lyricist Tim Rice, who previously created the musical numbers for the 1994 …

Elton John has written a new song for the soundtrack of Disney’s The Lion King remake.

The tune, titled Never Too Late, was penned by the British rocker and Grammy Award-winning lyricist Tim Rice, who previously created the musical numbers for the 1994 original together. Described as an “uplifting” song, Never Too Late has been performed by John with backing vocals from an African choir and is set to appear during the film’s end credits.

The soundtrack also features new versions of memorable songs from the animated film, such as a I Just Can’t Wait to Be King, Circle of Life, and Can You Feel the Love Tonight, which have been given a new lease of life from performers like Beyonce, Donald Glover, Brown Lindiwe Mkhize, Lebo M. and John Oliver.

“Just hearing that music strikes you deeply,” director Jon Favreau said in a statement. “Even if you don’t know the film or stage show, there is a spiritual strength in it. But if you know the film, and if you grew up with this music – now it can suddenly and immediately evoke the story itself, as well as all the connected memories and emotions that you have from your own past experience with The Lion King, or from the time of your life that you were in, or your childhood, or the life events it’s connected to.”

A veil of secrecy still hangs over the 14th track on the album, with many fans speculating this is the song Beyonce, who voices Nala in the film, has reportedly written for the movie.

Favreau recently revealed Beyonce “performed and wrote” the new song “in the spirit of the production” and teamed up with composer Hans Zimmer to “bring this new piece of music into a film where there’s already a very established musical personality to the piece”.

The digital soundtrack is to be released on 11 July, while the physical album is set to hit shelves on 19 July, the same day The Lion King opens in U.S. cinemas.

And should Never Too Late be a hit, it’s possible John will have two songs nominated in the Best Original Song category at the Oscars, as he and his longtime lyricist Bernie Taupin also created (I’m Gonna) Love Me Again for the soundtrack of his biographical movie Rocketman.

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Jon Favreau wanted James Earl Jones for The Lion King remake to ‘carry on the legacy’

Jon Favreau wanted James Earl Jones to reprise his role as Mufasa for the The Lion King remake to “carry on the legacy”. The director recruited an all-star cast of actors for his upcoming live-action version of the Disney classic, including Donald Glo…

Jon Favreau wanted James Earl Jones to reprise his role as Mufasa for the The Lion King remake to “carry on the legacy”.

The director recruited an all-star cast of actors for his upcoming live-action version of the Disney classic, including Donald Glover, Beyonce and Seth Rogen.

Jones was the voice of Mufasa in the 1994 animated movie, and Favreau was in no doubt that he wanted the 88-year-old onboard his remake in an effort to connect the two movies, despite being released 25 years apart.

“I see it as carrying the legacy across. Just hearing him say the lines is really moving and surreal,” he told Empire magazine.

While Glover has replaced Matthew Broderick as the grown-up Simba in the new movie, and Nathan Lane has been substituted for Billy Eichner as the charismatic meerkat Timon, it would’ve been difficult for Favreau to find another actor to voice Mufasa.

However, he was quick to explain that Jones’ voice won’t be exactly the same this time around.

“The timbre of his voice has changed. That served the role well because he sounds like a king who’s ruled for a long time,” the Iron Man star and director shared.

He previously revealed that most of the Mufasa’s dialogue – and the iconic songs from the 1994 animated classic – haven’t been changed for the new film.

“I want to highlight, really, what’s in there from the original,” Favreau told multiple outlets. “It’s the whole circle of life and bad things happen, good things happen. Not every scene in the movie is fun to watch… There’s tragedy in it, but ultimately what I like about it is that somehow, after that whole experience, you walk away feeling inspired and hopeful. Which is how I like my stories.”

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Beyonce’s make-up artist creates The Lion King-inspired beauty range

Beyonce’s make-up artist Sir John has teamed with Disney to create a The Lion King-inspired make-up line.The beauty guru’s most famous client voices the role of Nala in Jon Favreau’s live-action remake of the double Oscar-winning 1994 animated classic….

Beyonce’s make-up artist Sir John has teamed with Disney to create a The Lion King-inspired make-up line.

The beauty guru’s most famous client voices the role of Nala in Jon Favreau’s live-action remake of the double Oscar-winning 1994 animated classic.

And to mark the movie’s release, Disney has recruited Sir John for a special cosmetics project.

“Disney first approached me last August, just as I was wrapping up (reality TV competition show) American Beauty Star,” Sir John told The Hollywood Reporter. “They told me (Beyonce) was voicing Nala and asked if I’d be interested in doing a line of cosmetics for them.

“I was kind of like, ‘She’s sold separately.’ But they said, ‘No we want to work with you, and we want you to license it and find a partner to produce the collection.'”

Reaching out to Luminess Cosmetics, a brand known for its airbrush technology, Sir John began work on the collection – which is made up of an eyeshadow palette, sculpting set, highlighter lipsticks and lip balms, all named after some of The Lion King’s most famous songs.

Each item is encased in packaging made from etched enamel showing a lion’s face, with Sir John explaining how freeing it was to design around an animal and not a princess.

“It was actually a plus, because I didn’t have a character limiting my creativity… I didn’t have to design a collection for Cinderella,” he mused. “I also think women appreciate the grace and beauty of big cats, whether it’s a jaguar, leopard or cheetah. They are so regal and so dangerous but have a feminine quality that speaks to my clients, who are strong women.”

The collection will launch on 15 June on Luminess Cosmetics’ website, with prices starting at $24 (£19).

The film, which also features the vocal talents of Donald Glover, James Earl Jones, Seth Rogen and Chiwetel Ejiofor, hits cinemas from 17 July.

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Donald Glover unveils new Adidas collaboration

Donald Glover has joined forces with Adidas Originals for a new line of items and short films that inspire storytelling through fashion. The actor and musician, also known as Childish Gambino, has been an ambassador for the brand since last year (18),…

Donald Glover has joined forces with Adidas Originals for a new line of items and short films that inspire storytelling through fashion.

The actor and musician, also known as Childish Gambino, has been an ambassador for the brand since last year (18), and he has now unveiled a range of pieces that include reimagined versions of the classic items from the label.

“Rich is a concept,” Glover says in a press release. “With this project, I wanted to encourage people to think about how their stories can be told on their feet.

“Value isn’t quantified by what you wear, rather the experiences from them. And you make the decision on what works for you, you live through your own lens. The partnership for me is about being able to exemplify what doing your own thing truly looks and feels like.”

Among the revisited styles are the Nizza, the Continental 80 and the Lacombe. The footwear features deconstructed details, like uneven stitching, inside-out golden eyestays, and a custom three-Stripe mark that appears hand painted.

“As a visionary, we admire Glover’s capability to surpass ‘genres’ and uniquely tell a story,” says Chris Law, Adidas Originals senior design director, in a statement. “From a design perspective, we drove the aesthetic of this collection based on Adidas’ rich history in classic sneakers and Glover’s philosophy of understated points of interest and appreciation for how shoes evolve with wear, expressing more personality over time. Between Glover’s artistic vision and our expertise, we will continue to evolve and look forward to where that takes us.”

Along with the new looks, the star has teamed with bosses at the brand for video promos showcasing the looks. They feature actress and comedienne Mo’Nique and professional skateboarder Na-Kel Smith.

The Donald Glover Presents film series will be released on 18 April (19) while the line will be available globally on 26 April (19).

Meanwhile, Childish Gambino will headline the second Saturday at the Coachella festival in California this weekend (20Apr19).

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