EXCLUSIVE: The Lion King prequel is roaring into life. We can reveal that Waves and The Trial of the Chicago 7 star Kelvin Harrison Jr. and The Underground Railroad star Aaron Pierre are set to lead voice cast.
Production is underway on the anticipated feature, which will see Moonlight director Barry Jenkins further explore the mythology of the iconic characters, including Mufasa’s origin story.
Pierre — who recently teamed up with Jenkins on Amazon series The Underground Railroad — will play Mufasa while Harrison Jr. is playing Taka. Additional casting is in process with plenty of big names likely.
The untitled prequel (which Disney describes as live-action) will continue with the photorealistic animation technology that director Jon Favreau used in the blockbuster 2019 update of the beloved franchise. Jeff Nathanson, who scripted the last instalment, is back in the fold.
At its investor day late last year, Disney revealed that music will be coming from Hans Zimmer (who scored the original and 2019 version), Pharrell, and Succession’s Nicholas Britell.
Jenkins’ PASTEL partners Adele Romanski and Mark Ceryak are producing with Disney.
BAFTA-nominated actor Harrison Jr. is best known for movies Waves, Luce, It Comes At Night and Monsters And Men. The rising actor will next be seen starring in Joe Wright’s Cyrano and as B.B.King in Baz Luhrmann’s Elvis Presley biopic.
Pierre was most recently seen in M. Night Shyamalan’s Old and as Caesar in all ten episodes of The Underground Railroad. Previous credits include Syfy’s Krypton and Amazon series Britannia.
Jenkins won the Oscar for scripting the Best Picture winner Moonlight.
Disney’s 2019 update of The Lion King grossed more than $1.6BN worldwide during its theatrical run, overtaking Frozen to become the highest-grossing animated film of all time.