Anglo favorite John Oliver has joined the voice cast of the upcoming live-action remake of The Lion King — and the role he’s lending his voice to couldn’t be more perfect.
According to The Hollywood Reporter, the Last Week Tonight host will play red-beaked hornbill Zazu, the feathered political advisor to Simba and Mustafa who was originally voiced by the inimitable Rowan Atkinson in Disney’s 1996 cartoon classic.
Okay, so maybe he’s not entirely inimitable. We think John will come very close to Rowan’s performance as the dignified and uptight bird, and not simply because he’s British (oh no).
Nor is it John’s first foray into voice acting, either. He played Vanity Smurf in The Smurfs, as well as lending his voice to episodes of The Simpsons and Bob’s Burgers, and you’ll soon be able to hear his dulcet tones in Amusement Park, an upcoming animated adventure also starring Mila Kunis, Jennifer Garner and Matthew Broderick.
The question, though, is can he sing? Because, as if you needed reminding, that’s one thing Zazu did a lot of — as seen in this clip of him extolling the virtues of a bunch of coconuts:
John is the latest addition to an impressive cast that includes Atlanta‘s Donald Glover as Simba, Seth Rogen (Sausage Party) as Pumbaa the warthog, and Billy Eichner (Parks and Recreation) as Timon the meerkat, as well as seeing James Earl Jones reprise his role of Mufasa.
Jon Favreau is directing The Lion King, which is expected to employ the same sort of performance-capture and computer-generated imagery as his Jungle Book to bring its animal characters to life. The new movie will also feature songs from the original.
Do you think John will make a good Zazu?