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Get Ready for Simba Gambino

By  · Published on February 20th, 2017

One is a returning legend and the other the hottest actor of the moment.

Following his work on 2016’s The Jungle Book – which garnered universal critical acclaim, a box office just shy of a billion, and ended up with an Oscar nomination for Best Visual Effects – director Jon Favreau has been tapped by Disney to helm perhaps the biggest and most-anticipated of their live-action updates to animated classics: The Lion King. And as of this weekend, we now know who will be playing both characters described by the title, young Simba and his father Mufasa.

Donald Glover will be the young cub, and James Earl Jones will be returning to the role of Mufasa, who he voiced in the 1994 animated original. Glover’s already having the best year ever thanks to a couple Golden Globe wins for Atlanta, the FX show he created, co-writes and stars in, his casting as young Lando Calrissian in the upcoming Han Solo Spinoff film, and the critical acclaim he earned for his latest album as Childish Gambino, Awaken, My Love! This new gig only further solidifies his spot on the A-list, and it also means Disney, who of course is behind the Star Wars project, is really enjoying their working relationship with Glover.

As for Mr. Jones, it would have been downright rude, not to mention impossible, to recast his performance as Mufasa. This will mark the second time Disney has coaxed the actor into revisiting one of his most iconic roles; last year they got him to come back as the voice of Darth Vader for Rogue One.

Favreau himself broke the news on Friday evening with a pair of tweets.

There’s no official release date on this one just yet, but as Glover has his schedule locked up with Solo, then the second season of Atlanta, not to mention an overall production deal he just signed with FX earlier this year, it seems likely his lion won’t roar until 2019 at the earliest.

In other news and points of interest…

…The Berlin International Film Festival handed out their awards this weekend, including a surprise winner for the top prize…

…The A.V. Club’s Caroline Siede wrote this fascinating piece on the connection between understanding feminist criticism and hating Ewoks. It’s a must read…

Twin Peaks lost another of its beloved cast over the weekend. Warren Frost, who played Doc Hayward, town medical examiner and father to Donna, Laura Palmer’s best friend, passed away at the age of 91. Frost is the father of Twin Peaks co-creator Mark Frost, and was also known for his role on Seinfeld, on which he played the father of Susan, George’s ill-fated fiancé. Frost hasn’t acted since Seinfeld, but he is listed among the cast of the first episode of season three of Twin Peaks, which airs May 21st on Showtime…

Bates Motel returns to television tonight for its fifth and final season, and already we know that these last episodes will cover the same narrative ground as the film on which the series is based, Psycho. What we don’t know is how closely the television team will mirror Alfred Hitchcock’s version of events. Entertainment Weekly spoke about this with showrunner Kerry Ehrin. Give it a read before tuning in to A&E tonight.

If you haven’t scanned the FSR homepage in the last day or so you’re missing out on some great stuff, like our boss Neil Miller’s Logan review, Rob Hunter’s look at the new anthology show from JJ Abrams (The Force Awakens) based on the works of Stephen King, Andrew Karpan’s examination of La La Land’s unexpected success in China, Christopher Campbell’s piece on when villains become the main characters of a film franchise, and this video that showcases the work of each of the nominees for this year’s Best Cinematography Academy Award.

And lastly, speaking of some good-looking cinema, check out five of the most popular shots we tweeted out over the weekend. For more, you know where to find us.

FEAR AND LOATHING IN LAS VEGAS (1998) Director of Photography: Nicola Pecorini | Director: Terry Gilliam
SUBMARINE (2010) Director of Photography: Erik Wilson | Director: Richard Ayoade
THE SEARCHERS (1956) Director of Photography: Winton C. Hoch | Director: John Ford
THE WRESTLER (2008) Director of Photography: Maryse Alberti | Director: Darren Aronofsky
CAPTAIN AMERICA: THE WINTER SOLDIER (2014) Director of Photography: Trent Opaloch | Dir: Anthony Russo, Joe Russo
Novelist, Screenwriter, Video Essayist