The Lion King (1994) » Trivia


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# # Although all of the animals are obviously anthropomorphic in the film, hyenas (as the villainous characters) were most given the short end of the stick from the reality. In fact, Spotted Hyenas are considered the equal of lions in terms of intelligence and ferocity. They have an equally intricate social structure and are less likely to kill their own kind than lions (hyena clan matriarchs allow very little inner-species aggression). Also, while portrayed as nearly full scavengers, in reality lions scavenge the kills of hyenas as much as (if not more so) than hyenas scavenge lion kills.

# # 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 stage version of "The Lion King" has run for 4653 performances, and is currently the ninth longest-running show on Broadway (as of February 2009).

# # One of three Disney movies to win a Golden Globe for Best Picture. The other two are Beauty and the Beast (1991) and Toy Story 2 (1999) (all three were in the category "Comedy or Musical").

To date this movie still holds the record for being the highest grossing traditionally animated film in history.

The highest grossing movie of 1994 worldwide and the second highest in the US behind Forrest Gump (1994).

# # The Lion King opened on Broadway in 1997. The musical garnered 6 Tony Awards including Best Musical, and is produced by Disney Theatrical.

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

Nearly twenty minutes of the film were animated at the Disney-MGM Studios. Ultimately, more than 600 artists, animators and technicians contributed to The Lion King over its lengthy production schedule. More than one million drawings were created for the film, including 1,197 hand-painted backgrounds and 119,058 individually colored frames of film.

# # 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.

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

# # The stage version of The Lion King opened at the New Amsterdam Theater on October 15, 1997 and has played for over 4400 performances as of May 2008.

# # 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 first Disney animation movie to have European Portuguese dubbing. Until that, all Disney animation movies were sent to Portugal with Brazilian dubbing.

For its Platinum Edition DVD release, a new song was recorded and animated. 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.

# # At one point in the movie, Timon says, What do you want me to do, dress in drag and do the hula? Later, in The Birdcage (1996), Nathan Lane (who played Timon) plays a character who dresses in drag and dances at a night club (although he doesn`t do the hula).

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.

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.

# # The animators were so impressed with Jeremy Irons`s performance that they worked Irons` features into Scar`s face.

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

Tim Curry and Malcolm McDowell were both considered for the role of Scar.

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.

Voted number 1 in Cuatro`s (Spain) "Tu película Disney"

# # 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 music of the little song Timon performs for the hyenas ("LUAU!") is a fast-paced parody of the Aloha Chant, which can be heard in Walt Disney`s Enchanted Tiki Room in Disneyland.

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

# # The scenes of the hyenas chasing Simba out of the Pridelands and into the desert originally went screen right to screen left. The filmmakers flipped all the shots so that the chase now went screen left to screen right, so as to match the shot of Simba running back home to face Scar (he runs from screen right to screen left).

# # 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 lobbied to put the song back in. Later, "Can You Feel the Love Tonight" won him an Academy Award for Best Original Song.

The last Disney movie to be supervised by Jeffrey Katzenberg before he left to form DreamWorks.

# # The song that Rafiki sings, `Asante sana Squash banana, Wewe nugu mimi hapana` is Swahili for "Thank you very much, Squash banana, You`re a baboon and I`m not." Simba asks, "What does that mean?" and Rafiki says, "It means you`re a baboon and I`m not."

Besides inspirations from Shakespeare`s Hamlet, the story also has elements of the Osirian family myths of Ancient Egyptian mythology. In the Osirian myths, the king (Mufasa/Osiris) is killed by his jealous brother (Scar/Seth) and the rightful heir (Simba/Horus) is sent into exile as a boy. The murdered king visits and mentors his son in ghostly visits and when the heir comes of age, he returns to exact revenge on his father`s murderer.

# # In the dubbed Dutch version of the film, Timon and Pumbaa`s voices are spoken in Flemish, a dialect of Dutch spoken in Belgium. The accent given to Rafiki and Simba`s mother comes from Suriname, a former Dutch colony in South America. The rest of the characters speak with standard Dutch dialects found in the Netherlands.

# # By the end of the recording session for "Be Prepared", Jeremy Irons had blown out his vocal cords. `Jim Cummings` stepped in and finished Scar`s vocal part from the line "You won`t get a sniff without me!"

# # 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!"

# # During a fight with hyenas, Pumbaa shouts, "They call me Mr Pig!" This line, and its distinctive delivery, are a reference to In the Heat of the Night (1967), where Sidney Poitier`s character says, "They call me `Mr Tibbs`!" This was used as the title of the 1970 sequel (They Call Me MISTER Tibbs! (1970)). Additionally, his line "You talkin` to me?" is a direct reference to Taxi Driver (1976).

There is a lost verse of “Hakuna Matata” that was storyboarded which explained Timon`s situation. It was later used in _Lion King 1½, The (2004)

One of the original villain groups being considered was a pack of jackals.

# # 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.

Unlike the other lions, Scar`s claws are always displayed throughout the movie.

# # In the end of the scene where Mufasa explains to Simba that the stars are old kings, we can see the Leo constellation in the sky.

# # The song Rafiki sings (Asante sana, squash banana) is a playground chant used by children in Africa. Not unlike, Cinderella, dressed in yella for example.

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.

# # If you look closely at Zazu as Simba comes down to greet his subjects after the defeat of Scar, you can see his beak move, but no sound comes out. Originally he says Your Majesty.

An alternate version of Can You Feel the Love Tonight, a comic version to be sung by Timon and Pumbaa was storyboarded and even recorded but never used.

# # 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.

Pumbaa the Warthog was the first character in any Disney film to experience flatulence.

Mufasa was to sing a song titled To Be King, but it didn`t suit James Earl Jones` singing voice.

Nathan Lane and Ernie Sabella were originally cast as the hyenas Banzai and Shenzi (played by Whoopi Goldberg and Cheech Marin in the film). The crew loved their performance and thought the duo would be even better as Timon and Pumbaa.

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.

The best selling home video of all time, with more than 55 million copies sold to date.


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