Monday 11 December 2017

John Oliver ‘to voice Zazu in The Lion King live-action remake’

Could he be taking over from Rowan Atkinson as the beloved bird?

John Oliver ‘to voice Zazu in The Lion King live-action remake’ (Rich Fury/Invision/AP)
John Oliver ‘to voice Zazu in The Lion King live-action remake’ (Rich Fury/Invision/AP)

By Lucy Mapstone, Press Association Deputy Entertainment Editor

British comedian John Oliver is to take on the role of the highly-strung bird Zazu in the live-action remake of The Lion King, according to reports.

The stand-up comic and political commentator, who is best known in the US for hosting satirical late-night talk show Last Week Tonight with John Oliver, will be joining the cast of director Jon Favreau’s big-screen effort along with the likes of James Earl Jones and Donald Glover.

US entertainment news website The Wrap reported Oliver’s casting, citing two sources close to the project.

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John Oliver (Rich Fury/Invision/AP)

The hot-headed hornbill, the trusty sidekick and advisor to King Mufasa and his son Simba, was voiced by Blackadder and Mr Bean star Rowan Atkinson in the original 1994 Disney animated film.

Primetime Emmy Award-winner Oliver, 40, was previously a regular contributor to The Daily Show with Jon Stewart before landing his own programme in 2014, and he appeared in British panel show Mock The Week in the mid-Noughties.

Star Wars star Jones is lined up to play Mufasa, reprising his role from the original film, while musician and Spider-Man: Homecoming actor Glover will voice Simba.

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James Earl Jones (Yui Mok/PA)

It was previously reported that singer Beyonce had been approached by Disney for the role of Simba’s love interest Nala.

The original Lion King film won two Oscars and earned 968 million dollars (£750 million) at the box office.

It was confirmed by Disney in September last year that the Favreau-directed project would be going ahead, following the success of his live-action remake of The Jungle Book.

Other similar remakes in recent years include Cinderella, Beauty And The Beast and Sleeping Beauty’s Maleficent.

Press Association

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