5 INCREDIBLE BEHIND-THE-SCENES FACTS FROM DISNEY’S LIVE-ACTION THE LION KING THAT YOU NEED TO KNOW
By Oh My Disney
As if we weren’t already at the edge of our seats.
Are you ready to take your place? Disney’s The Lion King is finally here and there truly is so much about it to be excited for. There are the iconic musical numbers, for starters. Let’s not forget the star-studded cast that includes Donald Glover, Chiwetel Ejiofor and Beyoncé Knowles-Carter. But the thing that makes Disney’s The Lion King truly one of a kind? All the behind-the-scenes magic that came together to bring this beloved and timeless story of Simba’s journey to life. Here, five bite-sized – hah, animal puns – facts about it that we think you should know.
#1: EVERYTHING YOU SEE ON SCREEN WAS CREATED ON COMPUTERS.
Disney’s live-action The Lion King is anything but traditional animation. Now, this is where it gets seriously cool. To seamlessly blend live-action filmmaking techniques with realistic computer-generated imagery, the entire film was brought into – wait for it – virtual reality. This meant that the camera crew could actually “go into” the environment of The Lion King and stand next to a computer-generated lion instead of doing it all on a computer. So, who wants a virtual reality trip to the Pride Lands?
#2: RESEARCHING FOR THIS FILM TOOK THE FILMMAKERS FROM DISNEY’S ANIMAL KINGDOM IN ORLANDO, FLORIDA…
At Disney’s Animal Kingdom, the filmmakers had the chance to study the real-life stars of the film – lions, hyenas, warthogs and more – up-close, and even recorded the sounds of the resident lions at the park to lend authentic sounds to the film. Keep an ear out for baby Simba’s roar in the wildebeest scene: the sound crew travelled all the way to Germany’s Magdeburg Zoo to record the sounds of their lion cubs, all in an effort to give that scene a true-to-life roar.
#3: …TO SPRAWLING SAFARIS AND NATURAL LANDSCAPES OF AFRICA.
There was no greater source of inspiration than Africa. For the Pride Lands, the filmmakers looked to various spots in Kenya, with the rock formations of Chyulu Hills serving the inspiration for Pride Rock. For the picturesque cloud forest that Simba grows up alongside Timon and Pumbaa, Mount Kenya, with its vibrant flora, was their muse. At the end, the filmmakers captured more than 240,000 photographs over a two-week trip to this truly magnificent continent.
#4: NON-TRADITIONAL METHODS WERE USED TO CAPTURE THE PERFORMANCES OF THE ACTORS.
Instead of just having the actors speak into microphone stands, the filmmakers employed what they call a “black box theatre” for the voice recording sessions. This meant that the actors had the freedom to walk around, interact with each other and even improvise their lines, leading to performances that were more rooted in real human emotions. We need to see outtakes for Timon and Pumbaa (played by Billy Eichner and Seth Rogen), stat!
#5: IT TOOK A TEAM OF 130 ANIMATORS TO BRING THE ANIMALS TO LIFE.
With the camera work and voice recordings completed, in came the animation phase. The artists took about nine meticulous months to fully develop each character, paying close attention to everything from their fur, right down to how the belly muscles and necks of the animals would move when they spoke and sang. In total, the VFX artists brought 86 different species to life for the film!
Disney’s The Lion King is in cinemas now. Watch the trailer below and get your tickets HERE!