John Oliver will voice Zazu in Disney’s live action The Lion King
Casting for Walt Disney Pictures‘ live-action The Lion King continues today as The Wrap reports that John Oliver is set to voice Zazu. Oliver, who is best known for hosting HBO‘s Last Week Tonight, joins a cast that includes Donald Glover as Simba, Billy Eichner as Timon, Seth Rogen as Pumbaa and James Earl Jones reprising his animated role as Mufasa. Although still unconfirmed, director Jon Favreau has stated that Beyonce is his top choice to voice Nala.
Zazu, loosely based on the Polonius character from William Shakespeare’s Hamlet, was voiced in the the original animated The Lion King by Mr. Bean himself, Rowan Atkinson. Edward Hibbert replaced Atkinson for two direct-to-video sequels, The Lion King 2: Simba’s Pride and The Lion King 1 1/2, itself inspired by Tom Stoppard’s famous Hamlet side-quel Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead. Currently, voice actor Jeff Bennett plays Zazu on Disney XD‘s animated series, The Lion Guard.
Before becoming a household name with Last Week Tonight, John Oliver was well known for his work as a correspondent on Comedy Central‘s The Daily Show and for playing Professor Ian Duncan on Dan Harmon’s Community. He’s no stranger to voicing animated characters on the big screen, either. He previously lent his voice to Vanity Smurf in both 2011’s The Smurfs and 2013’s The Smurfs 2.
Favreau, who previously launched the Marvel Cinematic Universe with Iron Man, is bringing to The Lion King the same level of photo-real effects he brought to The Jungle Book. Look for The Lion King to hit the big screen July 19, 2019.
What do you think of John Oliver as Zazu? Who would you like to see cast in the remaining roles? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below!