Cast, crew reflect on 'Lion King' lreboot

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LOS ANGELES — Disney's "The Lion King" has received no shortage of remakes and spinoffs in the years since its original 1994 release. Now, as the film reaches its silver anniversary, Disney delivers a new take on the animated musical.

Cast and crew gathered in Hollywood for "The Lion King" world premiere Tuesday night, and discussed reimagining the classic. [The film will be released nationwide July 19]

"I think I'm really lucky, because I feel like a lot of the people who are experiencing it don't remember the first one," joked Donald Glover, who voices adult Simba.

"(The original film) is such a big part of who I was," Glover continued, adding he felt the weight of his role especially during his duet of "Can You Feel the Love Tonight?" with co-star Beyonce.

"Tackling it was really just trying to make the song feel as emotional as it was before," he said.

While the remake pays homage to the source material, a new approach allowed for more creative liberties than its predecessor, many cast and crew noted.

Composer Lebo M. said the remake will feature tunes from the original, and a host of new songs, as well as the anthem "He Lives in You," which debuted in the stage production.

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"We wrote it originally for the movie 25 years ago, and it made its mark on Broadway and around the world, and it's now a very special version in this movie soundtrack," he said. "The music department, we went crazy."

At times, so did the cast.

Actor Billy Eichner, who voices Timon, said director Jon Favreau (who also helmed Disney's recent "The Jungle Book") allowed him to record his voiceovers alongside his co-star Seth Rogen, the voice of Pumbaa. Most voice actors do the job solo.

"I think it all comes back to Jon Favreau for being brilliant and knowing how to do a big spectacular film that people can also relate to and make it feel organic and genuinely funny," Eichner said.

Glover shared a similar sentiment about Favreau, saying the director's vision for the remake is the reason he signed on.

"The story of us all being connected is a universal truth that we really can't ignore anymore," he said. "If we don't really like see the value of our lives together what's the point of all this? Because we're all connected."

AP Entertainment writer Mike Cidoni Lennox contributed to this story.


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