African Actors Join Cast of the Lion King Remake

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Every kingdom comes with a trustworthy advisor or two – South African actor John Kani has joined the Lion King cast as the wise baboon Rafiki. Nigerian-British actor Chiwetel Ejiofor was called on to portray Simba’s villainous uncle Scar, while Florence Kasuma, born in Germany and of Ugandan origin, will play Shenzi.

The all-star lineup for director Jon Favreau’s new take on Disney’s 1994 classic animated film The Lion King includes stars from the film, TV, theater and music arenas. Featuring pioneering filmmaking techniques, the film welcomes back to the big screen iconic characters that audiences have long treasured—but in a whole new way. From Disney Live Action, The Lion King is slated for U.S. theaters on July 19, 2019.

Lions rule the African savanna in The Lion King, which welcomes Donald Glover as future king Simba, Beyoncé Knowles-Carter as Simba’s friend-turned-love interest Nala, and James Earl Jones as Simba’s wise and loving father, Mufasa, reprising his iconic performance from Disney’s 1994 animated classic. Chiwetel Ejiofor was called on to portray Simba’s villainous uncle Scar, and Alfre Woodard portrays Simba’s no-nonsense mother, Sarabi. JD McCrary fills the shoes of Young Simba, a confident cub who can’t wait to be king, and Shahadi Wright Joseph brings tough cub Young Nala to life.