In a fun twist of casting fate, it appears that everybody’s favorite crude yet lovable duo from The Lion King will be voiced by a crude yet lovable duo (Jew-o?) in the beloved Disney flick’s live-action, Jon Favreau-directed reboot, which is slated for a summer 2019 release. Comedians Billy Eichner and Seth Rogen are reportedly in final negotiations to lend their voices to Timon and Pumbaa, respectively, the affable meerkat and warthog Simba befriends on his journey to become King of Pride Rock. At present, the cast also includes Donald Glover (Simba), James Earl Jones (he’ll reprise his role as Mufasa), and, if we’re lucky, Beyoncé (Nala).
Although neither Nathan Lane nor Ernie Sabella—who voiced the pair in the 1994 original—is Jewish, there is something inherently Jewy about Timon and Pumbaa’s rapport (even if “Hakuna Matata” is an anti-neuroses anthem). They’re loud, with no shortage of chutzpah and unsolicited advice in sight. I can only imagine that Eichner and Rogen will up the Jewish comedy ante.
While stoner-comedy star Rogen has previous experience voicing animated characters in movies such as Kung Fu Panda and Sausage Party, Eichner is best known as the brash host of Billy on the Street, his man-on-the-street game show on truTV. You might also recognize him from Hulu’s Difficult People.
For a taste of what’s hopefully to come, check out this Billy on the Street segment entitled “Death Rogen,” in which Rogen poses as a cameraman while Eichner tells strangers on the streets of New York that Rogen has died and asks what they thought of his career.
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