In an interview with The Associated Press this week, Favreau explained how he filmed voice-recording sessions with the cast members, who include Donald Glover as Simba, Billy Eichner as Timon, Seth Rogen as Pumbaa, Chiwetel Ejiofor as Scar and the Queen Bey herself as Nala.
Favreau said the idea was to capture and then convey the actors’ emotions through their characters in the new animated remake, which he said “should feel like a live-action movie.”
Specifically for Nala, the director told the AP that Beyoncé’s real-life stage presence also served as inspiration for the character’s movements.
“Nala is a very powerful character who’s a warrior and also has a big heart and encapsulates a lot of different archetypes,” Favreau said.
He continued, “I wanted the way she was choreographed and with lions and the fight scenes to have a resonance with the power with which [Beyoncé] choreographs her stage show.”
Although Beyoncé’s voice isn’t featured in Disney’s official trailer for the film, Eichner said on Crooked Media’s “Keep It” podcast in March that he heard Beyoncé sing on a “rough cut,” and that it made him cry.
“The Lion King” hits theaters on July 19.