ICYMI, John Oliver is a huge Beyoncé fan. So, when they were both booked for Disney’s live-action Lion King, it seemed as though he might get to rub shoulders with the music icon. Alas, speaking with Stephen Colbert, Oliver admitted that Beyoncé was photoshopped into the Lion King cast photo. But according to Oliver, Beyoncé’s presence was undeniable during the photoshoot — even without her physically being a part of the portrait.
As iconic as the group photo is, it began courting speculation after its release due to the amount of space between Beyoncé and everyone around her. Accordingly, fans suggested perhaps she was photoshopped into the portrait. She is Beyoncé after all, which means her schedule is more manic than most. So, when Oliver visited The Late Show With Stephen Colbert this week, the late-night talk show host seized the opportunity to get to the truth behind the possible photo splice. “Yeah, she wasn’t there,” Oliver confessed to Colbert, adding that everyone else was there based on his recollection.
Apparently, though, all it took was the mere idea of Beyoncé being in a photo with him to set off Oliver’s nerves. “I remember Chiwetel [Ejiofor], we were setting up the shot and Chiwetel was sitting up in the front and he said, ‘You need to be careful where your foot it.’ And I looked down, and there was just this piece of tape on the floor with Beyoncé’s name written on it. I literally, it was like an electrical reaction, I went ‘Oh f—k!’” Oliver recounted, jumping out of his chair in mock shock. “Just the presence of Beyoncé was so intimidating.”
Hilariously, Oliver insists you can read the intimidation all over this face, telling Colbert, “If you look at my face in there, I look really intimidated. And that’s because what I’m doing is imagining that I am about to be put into a photo with Beyoncé, and that was nerve-wracking enough.” As Oliver tells it, it’s probably for the best that there was a gap between him and Beyonce anyway. “Yeah, it’s only appropriate that there’s a significant gap between me and the ACTUAL queen,” he joked.
Oh, Oliver. You are almost too pure for this world. Sadly, the comedian didn’t get to meet Beyonce during filming, so their introduction would have been at the photoshoot. In the film, Bey voices adult Nala, while Oliver voices Zazu the hornbill. Because the scope of their roles was limited to voice work, they never had occasion to be “on set” together.
But, hey, there’s still time, right? Maybe Disney will make a sequel, and Bey’s busy schedule will open up enough for her to be present for that photoshoot.