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John Oliver Joins Jon Favreau’s Live-Action ‘The Lion King’ As Zazu

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In perhaps one of the best pieces of casting yet in Disney’s slate of live-action remakes, the host of HBO’s Last Week Tonight, John Oliver, has joined Jon Favreau’s upcoming, live-action remake of the 1994 classic The Lion King as Zazu, the red-billed hornbill.

Fans of the animated film will remember that the character, originally voiced by Rowan Atkinson in the 1994 movie, serves as the majordomo to King Mufasa and, later on, his son Simba. (But not after serving as the cub’s reluctant babysitter first!) Personality wise, Zazu is “described as dignified and uptight – but a total nervous wreck”, which the British comedian should be perfect at playing.

The Lion King

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John Oliver joins an already star-studded cast that includes: Donald Glover (Simba), James Earl Jones (Mufasa), Seth Rogen (Pumbaa) and Billy Eichner (Timon). Hopefully soon we get official confirmation on who will be playing Nala (Beyoncé was rumored to be Jon Favreau’s top choice for the role a while back), Sarabi, Rafiki, the villain Scar, and his three hyena henchmen –  Shenzi, Banzai, and Ed.

The Lion King is set to come stampeding into theaters on July 19th, 2019.


Do you think John Oliver will do a good job bringing a new incarnation of Zazu to life? Are you excited for Jon Favreau’s live-action remake of The Lion King? Let me know in the comments below!

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Anthony Caruso
A resident of Gotham City. A graduate of Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. A survivor of the Zombie Apocalypse. A Jedi who is one with the Force. Anthony completed his BA and MA in English Literature over in jolly old England - because what better place is there to go to study English than England? An avid pop culture nerd, he is a huge movie buff (and owns almost 1,000 DVDs and BluRays, having underestimated how quickly digital downloads would take off!), comic book fan, and watches way too much T.V. He is also a strong defender of the Oxford Comma.