By Yohana Desta. Photos: Getty Images.
If you’re going to reboot a classic, you might as well do it with Beyoncé. According to Variety, director Jon Favreau wants the superstar to voice the role of Nala in his upcoming Disney remake of The Lion King. Though the singer is pregnant with twins and reportedly hasn’t made a decision about taking the part yet, a voice-acting role—this Lion King will be computer animated in the same photo-realistic style as Favreau’s blockbuster Jungle Book—would be an easy commitment for her to make. And considering how lucrative Disney’s classic reboots have become, saying “yes” to the part might be something of a no-brainer.
“Sources say the studio and director will do whatever it takes to accommodate her schedule,” Variety reports. Which of course they would. We all would. Beyoncé’s schedule comes before everyone else’s schedule at all times, but especially when she is carrying Blue Ivy's siblings. Though she recently performed at the Grammys, Yoncé has otherwise cleared out her schedule due to her pregnancy, canceling an upcoming headlining gig at Coachella (Lady Gaga will take the precious slot instead). But voicing an animated role in a film is famously easy work compared to starring in a live-action movie; how many interviews have you read in which a celebrity gushes about how they could stroll into the studio with pajamas on and just step up to the mic? Hell, they can even record their parts over the phone!
Though Nala is a relatively small role in the scheme of things—she’s Simba’s childhood friend who later becomes his wife, though she doesn’t have nearly as much screen time as he does in the original 1994 film—it’s easy to imagine Disney beefing up the character for Beyoncé as well. The studio added several new songs to the classic Beauty and the Beast soundtrack in the remade film, including one designed to show off the powerful pipes of cast member Audra McDonald—so there’s nothing stopping them from giving Nala a new song, too. And why wouldn’t you when you have access to Beyoncé “I Have 20 Grammys (and Three Hearts)” Giselle Knowles-Carter? The Beyhive would demand it.
Bey has also tried her hand at voice roles before, previously playing Queen Tara in the 2013 film Epic. She’s cushy with Disney as well—she recently took Blue Ivy to the premiere of Beauty and the Beast. The famously type-A Virgo was probably taking notes the whole time she watched the film, weighing the pros and cons of doing a similar remake.
Taking a role in the upcoming Lion King would also add a major family-friendly project to her oeuvre—just a little something for Blue Ivy (and the future Mini-Ivys) to watch in their fancy home theater together.
Perhaps most importantly, appearing in The Lion King would be a magnificently solid financial bet. Favreau’s first live-action adaptation for Disney was last year’s excellent and visually stunning Jungle Book, which took in nearly $1 billion worldwide. Beauty and the Beast is working quickly to surpass that figure, and has already breezed past the $750 million mark globally. It was previously reported that star Emma Watson earned a $3 million payday for starring in the film, with a backend deal that could earn her up to $15 million. Beyoncé could perhaps negotiate a comparable deal, considering her star power—even though the part of Nala is much smaller than that of Belle.
The Lion King, which does not yet have a release date, is also set to star Donald Glover as Simba, with James Earl Jones reprising his role as Mufasa. And, it's hoped, soon, Beyoncé.
This story originally appeared on Vanity Fair.
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