I know I’m going to get ALL the shade for this post but I am prepared for it. Let me just insert my disclaimer here. I am a proud member of the Beyhive. I was fully prepared for EVERYTHING that the queen was about to serve up when The Lion King hit theaters. And just being in the same space as her when I went to the world premiere in LA was AMAZING. There is absolutely no doubt in my mind that Beyonce slays at every single opportunity given. But I wasn’t as drawn to her in The Lion King as I expected to be. In fact, after I watched the movie I found myself unexpectedly in love with a few characters that I wasn’t expecting. These dynamic duos were undoubtedly the stars of The Lion King.
Azizi and Kamari
Lets just get it out of the way and say I had huge doubts about when it came to Azizi and Kamari. First of all when I saw their names I had questions on why Disney insisted on changing my childhood in ways that I did not approve of. Banzai and Ed were a part of the animated Lion King that I loved. So I was a huge skeptic when it came to these new named somebodies.
Azizi and Kamari played by Eric Andre and Keegan-Michael Key were the couple everyone didn’t know they needed. When asked at the globe press conference how they came to reach that dynamic Eric Andre said of Key, “He’s incredibly talented and really, really easy to work off of. And he is a selfless altruistic talent, which is rare. So I was in good hands. I was in great hands with Jon. So I don’t know. It was just a very nurturing environment and made it very easy, because I’m very, very sensitive. So the slightest wind of any kind will make me tear up.” Key also praised director Job Favreau’s “encyclopedic knowledge of comedic duos” naming pairs we love such as Fibber Mcgee and Molly, Abbott and Costello and Laurel and Hardy. It was obvious during our time speaking with them that the pair had an amazing relationship off camera. That made their duo shine through in The Lion King.
Timon and Pumbaa
Timon and Pumbaa are stars in the animated version of The Lion King, so it’s no surprise that Seth Rogen and Billy Eichner fed off of each other to bring the characters we already love to life. When asked how much of their work was improv and how much was planned Seth Rogen said, “It was a lot of improvisation with Billy. Yeah. And we were actually together every time that we recorded, which is a very rare gift to have as someone who is trying to be funny in an animated film, of which I’ve done a lot, and you’re often just alone in there. And I think you can really tell that we’re playing off of each other. It’s an incredibly naturalistic feeling. And they really captured Billy.”
And Billy Eichner definitely played the role of Timon very well! “Yeah. I wish I was as cute in real life as I am in the movie. The Timon they designed is so adorable. And I think the juxtaposition of my personality in that little Timon body really works”. And a Disney movie would not be complete without an Easter egg. The Easter egg moment between Timon and Pumbaa was actually director Jon Favreau’s idea and it was perfectly placed and had the whole theater laughing!
About The Lion King
Disney’s “The Lion King,” directed by Jon Favreau, journeys to the African savanna where a future king is born. Simba idolizes his father, King Mufasa, and takes to heart his own royal destiny. But not everyone in the kingdom celebrates the new cub’s arrival. Scar, Mufasa’s brother—and former heir to the throne—has plans of his own. The battle for Pride Rock is fraught with betrayal, tragedy and drama, ultimately resulting in Simba’s exile. With help from a curious pair of newfound friends, Simba will have to figure out how to grow up and take back what is rightfully his.
The Lion King was a visually amazing work of art and I think everyone will love it (you can read my review here). Be prepared to laugh, cry and feel all the nostalgic feels when you head into theaters to check out the latest in Disney’s slate of remakes. And while you may just be there for Beyonce, don’t sleep on the true stars of The Lion King.
The King Has Returned – Disney’s The Lion King is in now playing in theaters everywhere !