The legacy of The Lion King is unparalleled. The 1994 Animated Musical not only went on to win universal acclaim, but also outstanding commercial success, grossing almost $1 billion internationally, spawning various stage productions of it. The torch is handed off to multi-talented Jon Favreau to tell this story theatrically to a new generation of fans. Expectations are high for this upcoming Remake, which utilizes cutting-edge realism and an all-star Cast which has just about everybody circling their calendars in preparation for its July release.
The Cain and Abel-like story centers on a lion named Simba (Donald Glover) who is destined for greatness as Crown Prince of the Pridelands, in line to succeed his father Mufasa (James Earl Jones). He is derailed into exhile by his ambitious brother Scar (Chiwetel Ejiofor) and it is up to Simba to reclaim what rightfully is his.
The starpower is staggering as the Supporting Cast is rounded-out by Alfre Woodard, Seth Rogen, Billy Eichner and Beyoncé.
See the Trailer:
Daytime Emmy winner Billy Eichner, known widely for his energetic and spontaneous brand of humour on Game Show Billy on the Street, plays wisecracking meerkat Timon, paired with slow-thinking warthog Pumbaa (Seth Rogen). The Funnyman is in Toronto to promote the release of what many are calling the cinematic event of the Summer and we are delighted to speak to him.
Eichner describes himself to us as mix of Theatre and Comedy worlds and he admits he likes this space. He also feels he is in a unique position being of an old school Theatre background, but also speaking to the new school in this Social Media age. In this upcoming Remake, he sings beloved Hakuna Matata and even jokes that he’s on a Track with Beyoncé as Timon sings a snippet of the Film’s centerpiece number, Can You Feel the Love Tonight?
We ask Eichner to tell us about the casting process and his reaction to being cast as Timon.
Eichner: “It was pretty shocking. I literally got a cold call from my agent that Jon Favreau wanted me to be in The Lion King. I had no preparation for it. I didn’t audition for it. I don’t think he auditioned anyone for it actually, maybe the kids?” . He adds, “I knew Jon and I knew he was a big Billy on the Street fan, but I’ve never worked with him before and literally I was shocked.” .
At the time our conversation, we still had not seen this latest incarnation of The Lion King. Curious, we ask Eichner how different it is from its Predecessor.
Eichner: “It’s completely different. Because of this, our vocal performances have to match the photo-realism of the Movie. They’re using some state-of-the-art technology, Virtual Reality and things I don’t comprehend. They put a helmet on me at some point and I was like, ‘I don’t know what’s going on. I’m just here to try to be funny’.” .
“The Movie just looks incredible. It looks so real and it is really breathtaking.” . While he realizes he really doesn’t have to do much to sell The Lion King to us since it is so well-loved, he reveals, “It’s such a nice escape from the real world and the daily onslaught of everything.” .
Eichner is known for his energetic and fast-thinking on Billy on the Street, where often he brings a notable name onto the street, giving New Yorkers a real shock and delight. We ask how different it is for him working in a controlled framework and a Script.
Eichner: “I’ve done scripted things before like American Horror Story. I would improvise and they would be like ‘What are you doing?’. But in The Lion King, the way that Jon wanted to do it, he encouraged us to riff and improvise. And a lot of our Improv remained in the final cut of the Movie. And I was surprised, I thought maybe we were just doing it as an exercise. It really gives this version of Timon and Pumbaa a really unique feel. Me and Seth Rogen aren’t going to sound like the original characters (voiced respectively by Nathan Lane and Ernie Sabella), so I’m guessing there was a lot of spontaneity and Improv involved and I’m guessing that’s what Jon Favreau really wanted since he cast me and he knew that’s my background.” .
Walt Disney Studios Canada release THE LION KINGThursday, July 18, 2019.
(Photo/video credit: Mr. Will Wong/Walt Disney Studios Canada)
Check-out this new Sneak Peek of Beyoncé Knowles-Carter as Nala in Disney‘s THE LION KING which just surfaced today!
Synopsis: Disney’s “The Lion King,” directed by Jon Favreau (“The Jungle Book”), journeys to the African savanna where a future king is born. Simba idolizes his father, King Mufasa, and takes to heart his own royal destiny. But not everyone in the kingdom celebrates the new cub’s arrival. Scar, Mufasa’s brother—and former heir to the throne—has plans of his own. The battle for Pride Rock is ravaged with betrayal, tragedy and drama, ultimately resulting in Simba’s exile. With help from a curious pair of newfound friends, Simba will have to figure out how to grow up and take back what is rightfully his.
Staying true to the classic story, director Jon Favreau utilizes pioneering filmmaking techniques to bring the iconic characters to the big screen in a whole new way. Featuring the voices of Donald Glover as Simba, Beyoncé Knowles-Carter as Nala, James Earl Jones as Mufasa, Chiwetel Ejiofor as Scar, Seth Rogen as Pumbaa and Billy Eichner as Timon, Disney’s “The Lion King” opens in U.S. theaters on July 19, 2019.
See the Sneak Peek:
(Photo/video credit: Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures Canada)
Just 100 more days till the biggest movie event of the Summer!
Synopsis: Disney’s “The Lion King, directed by Jon Favreau (“The Jungle Book”), journeys to the African savanna where a future king is born. Simba idolizes his father, King Mufasa, and takes to heart his own royal destiny. But not everyone in the kingdom celebrates the new cub’s arrival. Scar, Mufasa’s brother—and former heir to the throne—has plans of his own. The battle for Pride Rock is ravaged with betrayal, tragedy and drama, ultimately resulting in Simba’s exile. With help from a curious pair of newfound friends, Simba will have to figure out how to grow up and take back what is rightfully his.
Staying true to the classic story, director Jon Favreau utilizes pioneering filmmaking techniques to bring the iconic characters to the big screen in a whole new way. Featuring the voices of Donald Glover as Simba, Beyoncé Knowles-Carter as Nala, James Earl Jones as Mufasa, Chiwetel Ejiofor as Scar, Seth Rogen as Pumbaa and Billy Eichner as Timon.
A new Still:
See the Trailer:
Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures Canada release THE LION KING Friday, July 12, 2019.
(Photo/video credit: Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures Canada)
The biggest night in Music took place this evening with the 59th annual GRAMMY Awards being held at Staples Center in Los Angeles. Adele took home top honours garnering Best Pop Vocal Album, Best Pop Solo Performance (Hello), Record of the Year (Hello), Song of the Year (Hello) and Album of the Year with her 2015 third disc, 25.
Doing Canada proud is Toronto’s own Drake who took home multiple awards including Best Rap/ Sung Performance and Best Rap Song with Hotline Bling.
An expectant Beyoncé wins Best Music Video for Formation and Best Urban Contemporary Album with Lemonadewhich even the evening’s big winner Adele felt deserved to win Album of the Year, breaking her Grammy in half for 25 to share withBeyoncé.
Newcomer Chance the Rapper also took home Best New Artist, Rap Album of the Year for Coloring Book, along with a win for Best Rap Performance for his collaboration No Problem.
Post-humously, David Bowie was awarded with multiple wins for his final disc, Blackstar including Best Alternative Music Album, Best Rock Performance and Best Rock Song (Blackstar).
While they are currently dominating Pop Music, Electronic duo The Chainsmokers failed to win Best New Artist although they took home Best Dance Recording for their Daya collaboration Don’t Let Me Down.
Some more highlights from the night:
Adele accepting Album of the Year
Lady Gaga x Metallica
Katy Perry x Skip Marley
Twenty One Pilots win Best Pop Duo/ Group Performance for Stressed Out pantless
Artistically, Beyoncé is in a career renaissance. This is polarizing as those of us who loved her fromher Destiny’s Child days have either kept along with her journey of growth or abandoned the trail. Fortunately, a vast majority have stuck with her and her ever-evolving sound. Sixth solo studio disc Lemonade came as a surprise release less than a week ago and instead of the Music itself being the focus, it is getting more attention for pointing accusations at whom the hypothetical “other woman” is, accounting for some of the anger and aggression dispersed throughout the Disc. This is a good thing though. When Beyoncé speaks, people are listening.
Lemonade (a tribute to her maternal grandmother) despite its sunny name is dark, but if you’ve listened to her past few Discs, this is the direction the Singer/Songwriter/Entrepreneur has headed in recent years. The edge here however is sharp. The Album isn’t crammed with singles or bangers. It is a mixture of sounds aimed at evoking mood and thought in its listeners. It is about embodying the spirit and voice of the strong, independent American Woman. It very much is about empowerment.
English Singer/Songwriter James Blake has a couple contributions on the Disc and starts things off on a moody note on one of two collaborations, Pray You Catch Me. They duet on Forward (think an edgier take on Rihanna/Mikky Ekko‘s Stay) later in the sequence. The Rock influence in Beyoncé‘s repertoire is apparent on Led Zeppelin-sampling, Jack White dreamchild, Don’t Hurt Yourself and despite appearing a bit odd on paper, completely works. Sorry, which details infidelity in her partner and all the warning signs of it, stirs-up the most controversy to whom “Becky with the good hair is”. Does she really exist or is she metaphorical of the insecurities that women face? Either way it is genius and people are talking.
The Weeknd collaboration 6 Inch is a dark, mysterious anthem to femininity and fierceness, one of the more radio-friendly tracks on the Disc, while Daddy Lessons with its country roots pays homage to Beyoncé‘s southern upbringing and a reminder that not all men are at blame. It takes a man to tell you what kind of man to be warned of, right? The gorgeous Love Drought is placed mid-Disc and a perfect cool-down after an array of emotions expressed earlier.
Hip-Hop’s It Boy Kendrick Lamar gets a plum spot on the ’70s soulful-rock homage, Freedom. First single Formation closes-out the Disc, a perfect transition to take Fans from Beyoncé of an era past to the Beyoncé of now.
Like her fifth self-titled Disc, there is a visual component to this Disc. Check-out the Trailer below:
Certainly a bright spot in an outstanding catalogue from Music’s reigning Queen. Sony Music Entertainment Canada release LEMONADE, now available on iTunes, Amazon, Tidal and in-stores Friday, May 6, 2016.
Making a throw back to Young MC, you’ve gotta check-out this hot track from Sophie Beem! The Sony Music (Columbia Records) Artist is a protege of Beyoncé and believe it or not, she’s only in 11th grade! Currently on tour with Charlie Puth, who makes a Toronto stopoff at Mod ClubMonday, March 28, 2016, Beem is set to make a splash. She at least turned quite a few heads at their L.A. show at Fonda Theatre the other day with Beyoncé and Jay-Z coming out to watch her at the show!
In the meantime, enjoy first single I Got It ft. Fetty Wap!
Definitely keep a tab on Beem, whose five-track EP is now out on iTuneshere!
While we admit we know little about Football, we still love to partake in the festivity and we were thrilled to see not only a National Anthem for the records by Lady Gaga before a mesmerized Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara, California, we also witness headliner Coldplay, and Bruno Mars rock the crowd in dazzling technicolour Halftime Show!
It was even announced the Beyoncé, in addition to dropping a new Track yesterday in FORMATION, will be going on a Summer Stadium Tour!
We saw and were floored by Taylor Swift‘s BAD BLOOD Video, but Madonna never has been one to be outshone. She’s back and wants you to know, BITCH, SHE’S MADONNA! After a Premiere on Tidal, the Video is available now to all.
Beyoncé! Miley Cyrus! Katy Perry! Rita Ora! Nicki Minaj! Madonna pulls-out all the stops and the Big Girls to do battle on her new Music Video for BITCH I’M MADONNA (ft. Nicki Minaj)... and we LOVE IT. Sure it’s no match for Bad Blood, but it’s still Madge.
See the Video:
But where’s Gaga?
BITCH I’M MADONNA is taken off of Madonna‘s latest Disc, Rebel Heart.
Not that we are surprised, but Sam Smith walked away the big winner at tonight’s 57th GRAMMYs. The British Singer-Songwriter went-on to win four Awards at the Ceremony honouring the Year’s best in Music, nabbing Record of the Year and Single of the Year for his Hit Single STAY WITH ME, which he performed alongside Mary J. Blige. His IN THE LONELY HOUR went-on to win Best Pop Vocal Album. The 22-year-old was forthcoming about his sexuality, thanking his former Lover on-stage, “I want to thank the Man who broke my heart, as it inspired me to win four GRAMMYs!”. Smith also won Best New Artist, defeating the likes of Iggy Azalea and HAIM.
See Smith and Blige perform STAY WITH ME:
Veteran Alternative Singer/Songwriter BECK has shown amazing longevity in a Career which has spanned over three decades now. His Disc MORNING PHASE went-on to win Album of the Year as well as Best Rock Album. On the Show, he performed HEART IS A DRUM alongside Coldplay‘s Chris Martin.
Highlights tonight included a huge choreographed Comeback performance from Madonna, who was flawless in delivering new Single LIVING FOR LOVE. See the performance below:
Australian Singer-Songwriter certainly has been at it for a number of years now and she had just about everybody talking about her performance of Hit, CHANDELIER tonight featuring former Saturday Night Live Alumni Kristen Wiig doing performance art!
BEYONCE also brought it home delivering a pure and powerful rendition of Take My Hand, Precious Lord. She with Husband Jay-Z won Best R&B Performance for their Single DRUNK IN LOVE.
RIHANNA too made a powerful statement delivering a vocally on-point performance of new Single FOURFIVESECONDS alongside The Beatles Icon Paul McCartney and Kanye West. See it below:
At long last! The first Teaser Trailer for Vancouver-filmed FIFTY SHADES OF GREY finally has surfaced. Beyoncé hinted last week on her Social Media that she’d be involved and what we hear is a revamped version of her Crazy in Love.
Fifty Shades of Grey is the hotly anticipated film adaptation of the bestselling book that has become a global phenomenon. Since its release, the “Fifty Shades” Trilogy has been translated into 51 languages worldwide and sold more than 100 million copies in e-book and print—making it one of the biggest and fastest-selling book series ever.
Stepping into the roles of Christian Grey and Anastasia Steele, who have become iconic to millions of readers, are Jamie Dornan and Dakota Johnson.
Joining Dornan and Johnson in the cast are Luke Grimes as Elliot, Christian’s brother; Victor Rasuk as José, Anastasia’s close friend; Eloise Mumford as Kate, Anastasia’s best friend and roommate; Marcia Gay Harden as Dr. Grace Trevelyan Grey, Christian’s mother; Rita Ora as Mia, Christian’s sister; Max Martini as Taylor, Christian’s bodyguard; Callum Keith Rennie as Ray, Anastasia’s stepfather; Jennifer Ehle as Carla, Anastasia’s mother; and Dylan Neal as Bob, Carla’s husband.
Looks pretty steamy, yes?
Universal Pictures release 50 SHADES OF GREY on Valentine’s Day 2015.