Los Angeles (AFP) - Beyonce is set to voice Simba's childhood friend turned love interest Nala in the live-action remake of Disney's The Lion King, the singer and the studio announced on Wednesday (Nov 1).
The 36-year-old megastar confirmed the long-rumoured role in a Facebook post that showed headshots of the voice cast, also revealing that comedian Keegan-Michael Key will be playing a hyena named Kamari.
It was previously announced that Donald Glover will voice Simba and that James Earl Jones will reprise his role as Mufasa.
Actor Chiwetel Ejiofor will voice Scar and comedian John Oliver, Zazu. Other big names in the production - set for release in July 2019 - include Seth Rogan and Billy Eichner.
"It is a director's dream to assemble a talented team like this to bring this classic story to life," said director Jon Favreau, who helmed Disney's hit 2016 live-action remake of The Jungle Book, in a statement confirming the cast.
Disney has reimagined several other classics from its vaults - including Beauty And The Beast, Maleficent and Cinderella - for contemporary audiences.
The 1994 Lion King is one of the biggest animated films of all time, with lifetime global box-office takings of just under US$1 billion.
It won Oscars for the song Can You Feel The Love Tonight by Elton John and Tim Rice, and for its score by Hans Zimmer, plus two Grammy Awards. The soundtrack sold more than 14 million copies.
The stage version made its Broadway debut in 1997 and went on to win six Tony Awards.
Translated into eight languages, the film's 23 stage productions have been seen by more than 85 million people worldwide. The global takings of the brand exceed that of any film, Broadway show or other entertainment title in history.
Stunning early footage of the live-action version shown at Disney's D23 fan convention in Southern California in July climaxed in the iconic moment when Rafiki introduces newborn Simba to the animals of the savannah.
"This is a story that belongs to everyone who grew up with the original film," said Favreau.
"I wanted to demonstrate that we could be respectful of the source material while bringing it to life using new techniques and technologies."