While Disney continues to rake in big bucks at the box office with its live-action remake of “The Lion King”, one of the stars of the original animated feature is dropping a revelation about his role.
Jason Weaver was a child actor when he was cast to sing as young Simba in the 1994 classic, while “Home Improvement” star Jonathan Taylor Thomas voiced the character when he spoke.
In a new interview with Shadow and Act, Weaver, 40, explains why he didn’t do both the speaking and the singing.
“The only reason why I wasn’t the speaking voice as well for young Simba is because the producers and director of ‘Lion King’ had no idea at the time what I would bring to the project,” Weaver explained.
Having recently portrayed young Michael Jackson in TV miniseries “The Jacksons: An American Dream”, Weaver recalls that had it not been for the intervention of a different music icon, he wouldn’t have landed the role.
“A lot of the reason I was there is because Elton [John] vouched for me,” Weaver said of Sir Elton, who composed the songs for the film. “I had literally just finished filming ‘The Jacksons’ and two days later I sang ‘I Just Can’t Wait to be King’ in a recording session.”
According to Weaver, directors Roger Allers and Rob Minkoff were so blown away by his in-studio performance of the song that they wanted to offer him the speaking role as well, but a deal had already been done with Thomas.
“They actually did offer me the role and the director even called business affairs at Disney and was like, ‘Yo, did we close out our contract with Jonathan Taylor Thomas? Because I think we want to make the offer to Jason Weaver for the speaking roles,'” Weaver recalls. “And business affairs got back to him and was like, ‘Nah, we literally just closed the deal.'”
However, Weaver has no hard feelings about the experience, and says he was “content” to merely sing as Simba.
“Disney is taking great care of me as it relates to this project,” Weaver adds. “So I thank Disney for that.”
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We know that #JasonWeaver was the young singing voice for Simba in the original #TheLionKing, but why didn’t Disney give him the speaking role as well? @itsjasonweaver explained what happened to #ShadowAndAct. 👀 #jasonweaver #lionking #childactor #cast #animation #speakingrole