The Lion King (1994) » Trivia

List of facts about The Lion King.

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Originally, the movie was actually going to end with Simba being the one thrown off the cliff during the final battle against Scar, who then starts laughing maniacally as the fire gradually burns him to death. Fortunately, it then turns out that Simba actually survived the fall. (

Before Rowan Atkinson was cast as Zazu, many other British comedy actors were considered for the role, these include Tim Brooke-Taylor, Graeme Garden, Bill Oddie, David Jason, Peter Cook, Dudley Moore, Spike Milligan, Ronnie Barker, Ronnie Corbett and Vic Reeves. (

Despite repeated allegations of plagiarism of the Tezuka Productions' TV series Kimba the White Lion (1965), first shown in the 1960s, Disney maintain that all the similarities are coincidental. (

The lyric for the opening chant of "The Circle of Life" is: "Nants ingonyama bagithi Baba / Sithi uhm ingonyama / Nants ingonyama bagithi baba / Sithi uhhmm ingonyama / Ingonyama Siyo Nqoba / Ingonyama Ingonyama nengw enamabala". This translates as: "Here comes a lion, Father / Oh yes, it's a lion / Here comes a lion, Father / Oh yes, it's a lion / A lion We're going to conquer / A lion A lion and a leopard come to this open place". (

The first Disney animation movie to be dubbed into Portuguese in Portugal rather than Brazil. (

Originally titled "King of the Jungle", it was supposed to be about African lions living in the jungle until the production team realized that lions don't live in the jungle. Interestingly enough, the phrase "King of the Jungle" is still used on certain T-shirts sold at the Disney Store. (

Originally the Hula dance with Timon was going to be a Saturday Night Fever (1977) like disco dance. (

Originally, Scar was going to send adult Nala away from Pride Rock because she ignored his romantic approaches, after which she finds Simba alive and well with Timon and Pumbaa. This idea was ultimately abandoned, as sexual harassment was considered improper in a family movie. However, the stage musical adaptation includes this plot development as part of director Julie Taymor's efforts to expand the female characters' presence in the story. (

Nala's mother is named Sarafina. The name is never used in the film, however it does appear in the credits and on pieces of merchandise based on the film, including the trading cards issued at Burger King for a Lion King-based promotion. (

The main locations for the film, including Pride Rock and the Gorge, are modeled after Hell's Gate National Park in Kenya. (

Originally, the hyenas Banzai and Shenzi were supposed to be voiced by Tommy Chong and Cheech Marin. But the directors couldn't get hold of Chong, so they cast Whoopi Goldberg as Shenzi instead. (

Jim Cummings had to fill in for Jeremy Irons during the song "Be Prepared". Jeremy threw out his voice after singing, "You won't get a sniff without me!". (

The plot-line is loosely based upon William Shakespeare's Hamlet; a story of a young prince whose uncle takes over the kingdom and marries the queen after killing the king/prince's father. After being away from home for a period of time, these events lead to the prince's plans for revenge. The prince receives some advice from his father's ghost. Also, during the scene where Zazu sings "I've Got a Lovely Bunch of Coconuts", Scar Has a skull in his hand. (

During "Be Prepared", the hyenas' marching past Scar on the elevated rock was inspired by footage of Nazis marching by Adolf Hitler on a podium. (

Several character names are based on Swahili words: Shenzi: Barbarous/Uncouth/Uncivilized/Savage

Pumbaa: Ignorant/Lazy/Careless

Sarabi: Mirage

Rafiki: Comrade/Friend

Simba: Lion/Courageous Warrior

Mufasa: reportedly the name of the last king of the Bagada people, who were dispersed during the English colonization of Kenya.

Nala: gift


This is the second movie in which James Earl Jones (Mufasa) and Madge Sinclair (Sarabi) perform together as an African King and Queen. Jones and Sinclair were also King and Queen of a fictional African nation in Coming to America (1988). (

John Cleese, Eric Idle, Michael Palin, Terry Jones, Terry Gilliam and Patrick Stewart were all considered for the role of Zazu. The role was finally given to Rowan Atkinson after the animators watched some episodes of Mr. Bean (1990). They even modeled Zazu's appearance after Atkinson. According to producer Don Hahn, every English comedian (as well as Patrick Stewart and Simon Callow, both of whom are classically trained Shakespearean actors) who performed from 1960-1991 and were still active in acting were either seriously considered, turned down or auditioned for the role. (

For its Platinum Edition DVD release, a new song was recorded and animated. "The Morning Report" was written for the Broadway musical by Elton John and Tim Rice. They wrote two other songs for the play, "Chow Down" and "The Madness of King Scar". (

Elton John and Tim Rice were a little shocked when they saw that the producers originally intended to have their (eventual) Oscar-winning love ballad "Can You Feel the Love Tonight" as a duet between Timon and Pumbaa. (

The groundhog that pops up after Simba's pouncing lesson (the song "Morning Report" in the special edition) was originally going to be a naked mole rat, but the animators couldn't get him to look right. One of the directors said, "We would've lost our G rating!" (

The premiere for the IMAX version of the movie in New York had a strange request on the invitations: "No nannies." (In other words, "You are more than welcome to bring your children to this movie, but we sent the invitation to you and not to them for a reason.") (

Hans Zimmer had promised producer Don Hahn and directors Rob Minkoff and Roger Allers that he would get Lebo M. on the film. Zimmer then realized he had no idea where to find his his The Power of One (1992) collaborator but it all worked out as early one morning Lebo, seemingly out of the blue, showed up at Zimmer's house. (

When he signed onto the film, 'Matthew Broderick (I)' (Adult Simba) thought this was an American version of the anime/manga "Kimba the White Lion" (1965) which followed a similar plot line. (

v*rginia McKenna, Helen Mirren and Vanessa Redgrave' were considered for the voice of Sarabi. (

The Italian pop version of the song "The Circle of Life", sung in Italian by Ivana Spagna, was a major hit in Italy in 1994/95, alongside the original version by Elton John. (

The wildebeest stampede took Disney's CG department approximately three years to animate. (

Originally Mufasa was to never appear after his death, but producers felt Simba needed a reason to go back to pride rock so the spirit scene was made as a "to be or not to be" moment. (

An extra song for Timon & Pumbaa, Warthog Rhapsody, was written by Elton John and Tim Rice for the film, and was recorded by Nathan Lane, Ernie Sabella, and Jason Weaver. The sequence that was planned for it was worked out on the storyboard, but was never animated and so the song was not used; the song was included on "Rhythm of the Pride Lands," a companion CD to the movie's soundtrack. (

George Scribner was the film's original director. (

'Matthew Broderick (I)' (Adult Simba) and Nathan Lane (Timon) only saw each other once during production and that was in a hall. They both did their voice work separately. (

The line, "What do you want me to do, dress in drag and do the hula?" was improvised by Nathan Lane. (

This animated movie was Gregory Peck's favorite animated film, he also ranked it in his top five all time favorite movies. (

When Mufasa tells Simba about the Great Kings of the Past if you look at the stars in the wide shot you can see Mickey Mouse. (

Mufasa was to sing a song titled To Be King, but it didn't suit James Earl Jones' singing voice. (

Production took place at Walt Disney Animation Studios in Glendale, California, and Disney-MGM Studios in Orlando, Florida. Thirteen supervising animators, both in California and Florida, were responsible for establishing the personalities and setting the tone for the film's main characters. (

A few weeks before the film opened, Elton John was given a special screening. Noticing that the film's love song had been left out, he successfully lobbied to have the song put back in. Later, "Can You Feel the Love Tonight" won him an Academy Award for Best Original Song. (

Richard Curtis and Ben Elton were approached to write the film, but both turned it down as they were busy with projects of their own. (

Script writers envisioned Sean Connery as the voice of Mufasa. (

Liam Neeson was considered for the role of Mufasa. (

When writer Irene Mecchi came on board, she was told that the story pitch was "Bambi (1942) in Africa meets Hamlet (1990)", or "Bamlet", as she termed it. (

Several Disney animators went to Africa to study animal behavior and interaction in the wild. A grown lion and a cub were also brought into the animation studio as models for anatomy and musculature. (

Timothy Dalton was offered the role of Mufasa, but he turned it down. (

The original concept for the production design was to stylize the backgrounds to invoke the colorful and graphic nature of African fabric patterns and tribal art. However, this gave the film an overly stylized quality so the production team then opted for the epic, mystical feel that we see in the film today. (

In early drafts, Scar was a rogue lion with no relation to Mufasa. Eventually, however, the story writers thought relating him to Mufasa would be more interesting; a threat within. This is why Scar and Mufasa differ so much; They weren't originally designed to be related. (

Voted number 6 in channel 4's (UK) "Greatest Family Films" (

Matthew Broderick and Nathan Lane would later appear together in The Producers (2005). Coincidentally, both films now exist as Broadway musicals. (

[June 2008] Ranked #4 on the American Film Institute's list of the 10 greatest films in the genre "Animation". (

'The Lion King' is very similar to a story almost unknown to Western culture but one of the most beloved historical stories of the Niger Congo language family (western Africa). It is a story about one of their greatest kings - 'Sundiata: An Epic of Old Mali'. The main character Sundiata (which, directly translated, means "the lion king") is a young prince banished from his homeland by his family after his father dies. The story tracks his overcoming of emotional and physical ailments to later return to his kingdom and battle the evil sorcerer king who has overtaken it in his absence. This is a true story (with some magical elements added) and is still told by griots (history keepers for upper-class families, aka Rafiki in the film). (

The team working on the movie was supposedly Disney's "team B", who were "kept busy" while "team A" worked on Pocahontas (1995), on which the production had much higher hopes. (

Timon and Pumbaa were originally supposed to be friends of Simba from the very start. (

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