There’s no denying we’re all excited to see Disney’s new live-action Lion King. And while we’re pretty pumped about the casting, who was chosen to play these iconic roles is particularly impactful to two young fans — Beyoncé’s Lion King holds special meaning for daughters, Blue Ivy and Rumi. This is according to Bey’s longtime friend and former Destiny’s Child member Michelle Williams, who opened up about the significance during The Lion King premiere in Los Angeles on Tuesday.
Entertainment Tonight’s Nischelle Turner managed to sneak in a few minutes with Williams on The Lion King red carpet, where Williams couldn’t help but gush about her friend and the legacy she’s creating for her daughters. “Just excitement and how now is the time [for] different voices, different experiences and what she is going to bring to it. And because of her two little girls, what she’s passing on for her family, I think, is really awesome,” Williams said before confirming that Bey herself was a huge Lion King fan growing up.
“I think she’s just excited to be in it, probably as she was when she first saw the movie,” Williams revealed. “And to have a full-circle moment to be in something that you just salivated over when you were younger, is just awesome.”
As Williams pointed out while chatting with ET, Disney’s original film was chock-full of valuable life lessons. “I didn’t realize the great lessons I learned in that movie. The adult messages that are in the movie are timeless. One of my favorite quotes, Mufasa, saying, ‘Never forget who you are.’ And every now and then, we forget the crown that resides on your head and you forget who you are. Never forget who you are,” she explained of the significance the film had during her formative years.
And while there’s always a little trepidation when Hollywood decides to remake a classic, it doesn’t seem like fans have to worry about this reboot. Not only will it reportedly remain true to the original storyline, but, also, it goes without saying that this live-action version of Disney’s 1994 animated classic is stacked with star power. Beyoncé, of course, is set to star as the female lead, Nala. Her counterpart, Simba, will be played by Donald Glover.
James Earl Jones is returning to voice Mufasa. The three hyenas Sarabi, Kamari and Shenzi will be brought to life by Alfre Woodard, Keegan-Michael Key and Florence Kasumba, respectively. Billy Eichner and Seth Rogen will undoubtedly bring on the laughter as Timon and Pumba, while Chiwetel Ejiofor’s Scar is sure to send chills up fans’ spines. And did we mention John Kani is voicing the wise (and, OK, also kooky) Rafiki?
We can’t wait to see the beautiful legacy Bey creates for her daughters onscreen — along with everything else that happens once the return to Pride Rock arrives in theaters on July 19.