As excitement for “The Lion King” remake continues to build, Hollywood icon Alfre Woodard has been cast as the matriarch of Pride Rock.
Woodard will voice Sarabi, the mother of Simba, in the new version of the 1994 film touted as a live-action take on the animated blockbuster, according to The Hollywood Reporter. Woodard joins “Black Panther” actor John Kani as the newest stars of “The Lion King;” Kani will play Rafiki the baboon, according to The Wrap.
Kani’s and Woodard’s roles were originally played by Robert Guillaume and Madge Sinclair, the latter of whom also starred opposite James Earl Jones in the 1988 comedy, “Coming To America.”
Jones is reprising his role as Mufasa in the remake and new cast members will play other iconic characters. According to THR, Donald Glover is voicing Simba, originally played by Matthew Broderick, and Chiwetel Ejiofor is in talks to play villain and Simba’s uncle, Scar, who was portrayed by Jeremy Irons. In April, Variety reported Beyoncé was still in talks to voice Simba’s companion Nala, while Seth Rogen and Billy Eichner were cast to voice Timon the meerkat and Pumbaa the warthog. Those characters were initially played by Moira Kelly, Nathan Lane and Ernie Sabella, respectively.
“The Lion King,” helmed by the hit director of “The Jungle Book,” Jon Favreau, is currently filming in Los Angeles.