John Oliver To Voice Zazu In Jon Favreau’s ‘Lion King’ Remake | Film News
When he’s not enlightening the world with facts and humour on Last Week Tonight, John Oliver is also a handy actor. Following voice roles in shows like Rick And Morty, The Simpsons, Bob’s Burgers, and both recent Smurfs films, he’s landed a role as the voice of Zazu in Jon Favreau‘s The Lion King.
In the 1994 original, Zazu is a hornbill who is King Mustafa’s close friend and confidante, voiced by Rowan Atkinson. Oliver’s often exacerbated yet entertaining delivery style makes him a natural fit to voice an often high-strung character.
Oliver joins a cast that already includes Donald Glover as Simba, James Earl Jones as Mufasa, Seth Rogen as Pumbaa, and Billy Eichner as Timon.
Favreau’s film will shoot back-to-back with the sequel to 2016’s The Jungle Book, as Disney’s plan to embrace live-action remakes rolls on. The film is set to be scripted by Jeff Nathanson (Catch Me If You Can).
While there’s likely plenty of apprehension from fans who have fond, nostalgic memories of the original Lion King, the voice cast is thus far very impressive and will hopefully translate to an equally entertaining film. For his part, Favreau has mentioned how aware he is of the 1994 film’s status among fans and the challenges he faces remaking it:
“The thing is that the animated version of The Lion King is — I don’t know how you outdo that. It works tremendously well. I think it was sort of the end of the era before the 3D animation started coming in, and I don’t think anybody wants to see an animated version because if you want to see an animated version, look at the original.
“It holds up, it’s still wonderful to watch. So the trick is can you make it look like you actually found real animals in a real environment? And how do you translate the story through that?”
We’ll see how Favreau’s vision comes together when the film is released on July 19, 2019.