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How Donald Glover Was Asked To Play Simba In The Lion King

Following his highly-successful and cutting-edge take on Disney’s The Jungle Book, Jon Favreau took the helm to retell The Lion King, arguably the animation studio’s most beloved film, with photo-realistic visuals and a jaw-dropping list of actors behind the voices. Among them was Donald Glover, a multifaceted talent who has found careers in stand-up comedy, his Grammy-winning music project Childish Gambino, television writing and acting roles such as Lando Calrissian in Solo: A Star Wars Story.

Receiving the highly coveted call where you learn you’re joining a major motion picture is something that’s always an exciting moment to hear about, and Donald Glover’s call with Jon Favreau sounds like it was quite casual. Check out how the Simba actor recalls it:

No biggie. He was only asked to play one of the most iconic characters in modern cinema. And sing “Can You Feel The Love Tonight” with Beyoncé. And Quip lines with Seth Rogen and Billy Eichner’s Pumbaa and Timon in the studio. It’s just another day in the life of Donald Glover, I’d assume.

In an interview on the Blu-Ray extras for The Lion King hitting shelves and online stores on Tuesday, Donald Glover explained the exchange. He also shared his initial thoughts about the massive role:

As it turned out, he didn’t record his duet with Beyoncé live in the same room. Due to their other responsibilities around the world, they collaborated together by sending recordings back and forth to one another. Glover has expressed some relief because of her goddess-like status, saying it was a tad less intimidating to throw pieces of paper in the trash at home rather than play with Michael Jordan on the court.

Donald Glover’s portrayal as Simba certainly brought about interest in audiences to revisit the movie years later, along with the rest of the star-studded cast.

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