'The Lion King' director Jon Favreau on the struggle to remake a classic: 'It's going to be confusing to people' (exclusive)

Hanna Flint
Contributor

Jon Favreau knows the struggle of remaking a beloved Disney animation.

He did that six years ago when he was tasked with bringing The Jungle Book back to the big screen and that endeavour proved to be a remarkable success as the 2016 film earned both critical acclaim and box office success.

However, this time around, with the remake of 1994 classic The Lion King there seems to have been even more pressure to deliver a worthy successor as criticism of the remake trend increases.

Speaking with Yahoo Movies UK, Favreau explains how he dealt with the chatter while trying to create a fresh take on the animation.

“It's not the criticism as much as the actual process of doing it,” the director explains, “and trying to find the path to tell the story that walks the line of honouring what came before but not just presenting it has people would expect.”

Jon Favreau attends the European film premiere of Disney's 'The Lion King' at Odeon Luxe Leicester Square on 14 July, 2019 in London, England (Photo by WIktor Szymanowicz/NurPhoto via Getty Images)

“I do feel that there is a responsibility that you have when you're taking on a project like The Lion King,” he continues.

Read more: Early reviews for The Lion King are in

“You're inheriting it from a generation that grew up with it and you also you have a responsibility to the cast that you're working with to come up with something new, that they're proud of, and also to Disney for trusting you with it.

“There's a lot of things to juggle here and I felt a sense of responsibility there.”

Favreau took a photorealistic approach to the film (Credit: Disney)

Favreau opted for a photorealistic approach to deliver this story with the likes of Donald Glover, Beyonce, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Seth Rogen and Billy Eichner taking over some of the core voice roles.

Many critics have praised the film’s “breathtaking” visuals as well as the new cast of voice actors though some felt it tread to close to the original call it a reimagining.

Read more: The controversial history of ‘The Lion Sleeps Tonight’

“I think we walk the line in the way that we're proud of,” Favreau says.

LONDON, ENGLAND - JULY 14: attends "The Lion King" European Premiere at Leicester Square on July 14, 2019 in London, England. (Photo by Dave J Hogan/Getty Images)

“Anytime we do something new, it's going to be confusing to people but it will be nice to see how audiences receive it once it comes out.”

Favreau has been attached to direct sequel to The Jungle Book for a long time so is there a chance he could direct a follow-up to this latest film based on The Lion King 2: Simba’s Pride?

“It feels like this has been a six year journey between The Jungle Book and The Lion King,” the director says, and I am ready to do The Mandalorian and Star Wars.”

The Lion King is in cinemas on Friday. Watch a clip below.