Long before Beyonce and Donald Glover get to wear the crown of king and queen in the reboot of "The Lion King," there are two bright stars who take on the characters of the younger versions of Simba and Nala.
JD McCrary and Shahadi Wright Joseph step into these iconic roles in the blockbuster film, which drops today nationwide.
"GMA" spoke to the young talents about what it was like to be in a film of this magnitude, what they do in their free time and about their dream roles.
Age is really just a number
Both McCrary and Joseph said they caught the acting bug from around the age of 6.
"I looked at the TV and said, 'I want to do that' and my parents were like, 'Sure,'" said McCrary, now 12.
.@jdmccrary and @Shahadi talked with us about finding out that they landed their roles in #TheLionKing, putting their own spin on the classic characters and of course...meeting @beyonce. https://t.co/W1vUNMab63 pic.twitter.com/Eb4OYgEzRA— Good Morning America (@GMA) July 19, 2019
Joseph, 14, was around the same age when she first saw the original animated "Lion King" and she says that was her inspiration to act.
"So, I'm pretty grateful for that movie," she said, laughing.
Then at 9, she got her first job, "The Lion King" on Broadway.
"That was when I learned I wanted to keep doing this for a living," she said.
It all sounds like it was destined to be.
They've already accomplished so much
At such young ages, both McCrary and Joseph have amazing experience in addition to "The Lion King."
In addition to her Broadway work, Joseph starred in Jordan Peele's "Us," which was a hit thriller from earlier this year.
"I learned so much about myself as an actor," she said of working with an Oscar-winning director. "I want to do more dramatic roles, so that taught me a lot about those."
After he filmed "Lion King," McCrary worked on "Little," starring and produced by another young star, Marsai Martin.
He said that was such a "blessing," being able to be alongside Martin, Regina Hall and the rest of the great cast.
They like to stay grounded when they aren't working
Joseph stressed how much she likes to be with her friends when she isn't working on one of the most iconic movies in history.
"I like to get bubble tea with my friends," she added. "I like to go to the park, we don't really get noticed there."
For McCrary, he likes to continue his creative pursuits when he's at home.
"I draw a lot, I like to make superheroes and I make comics," he said, adding he likes to paint as well.
As you may have noticed, he's also always looking fresh and fabulous and gives all the credit to his mom.
"She helps style me, so credit to moms," he said. "Styles by moms."
What's on their professional bucket list?
It's tough to top working in a film that's starring Beyonce and Donald Glover, among a slew of other iconic stars like Seth Rogen, but the duo have their sights set high and the sky is the limit.
McCrary would love to take his love of comics and become the live-action embodiment of Miles Morales aka Spider-Man.
Until now, we've only seen Morales in the Oscar-winning "Into the Spider-Verse," but fans are clamoring for Miles to be in the Marvel Cinematic Universe opposite Tom Holland in the near future. The young man has the charm, charisma and more to do just that.
"I really want to be Miles ... You hear that Marvel?" McCrary said to "GMA," hoping to get the studio's attention.
For Jospeh, she would love to work with someone like Taraji P. Henson.
"She's such a great actress," she gushed. "And Regina King, she's really great. Maybe Jon Favreau again!"
Of course, they can't stop gushing about being in 'The Lion King'!
"JD and I are just so honored and so blessed to be a part of this A-list cast," Joseph said. "It's really great!"
The duo got to do their voice-over work in a black box theater, "So we really got to interact with one another," she added. "It really made the friendship come alive."
McCrary said he was able to really move around while voicing the young Simba and able to "act things out."
"The cast that was with me [during filming], I could really play off their energy, they could really play off mine," he said. "It was really helpful instead of just being in a booth."
Now Joseph can't wait for everyone to see what she thinks is a "beautiful" retelling of the original classic.
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