The new Lion King teaser is all about Beyoncé. When the first trailer for Jon Favreau’s remake (which is neither animation proper, nor live-action) was released, Queen Bey fans realized they would have to wait a little longer before hearing her turn as Nala in the upcoming film, since she didn’t speak at all in the first clip. But now—now—Disney has realized the error of its ways, and released a new spot that centers mainly on Nala: Simba’s childhood friend who becomes his queen. (We also get a smidge of Timon and Pumbaa, played by Billy Eichner and Seth Rogen.)
“Simba,” Beyoncé/Nala says quietly in the teaser’s ASMR-friendly opening moment. “You have to take your place as king. We need you. Come home.”
In a recent interview, Favreau spoke about what it was like casting the Grammy-winner, and, subsequently, how hard it was to nail down time with her due to her packed schedule.
“She’s a busy person: she has babies, she has albums, she goes on tour, her husband goes on tour, so she’s logistically trickier than some of the other cast members,” he said. “Half of that role is singing too, so that definitely made us feel that we had the right choice there.”
He also ran down the laundry list of usual compliments that collaborators give Beyoncé, the consummate Virgo: “She had really prepared—she’s a very hard worker. It’s no surprise that she has had success in so many areas, and if you look at [her visual album] Lemonade, you see really understands filmmaking too, and is very curious and innovative. Once it finally became human scale, and it was just us in the studio, she was great, and she had even prepared a lot of the stuff ahead of time.”
Alas, the new Bey-centric teaser doesn’t give us even a sliver of a soundbite of Nala singing in the upcoming movie. For now, all we have is Blue Ivy_ enthusiastically lip-syncing along to the original recording of “The Circle of Life,” while her mother quietly laughs alongside her.
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