“In the original film, [Nala’s] role is not as large as in the stage production, and we definitely drew inspiration, and that was one of the areas where we were going to expand this,” “Lion King” director Jon Favreau told Fandango.com.
“There’s an opportunity to build upon especially the female characters of Sarabi played by Alfre Woodard and Nala played by Beyoncé that the stage play explores further,” Favreau said. “It has a lot more time to do so than the original film. That was an area that we could build upon the original.”
The new film also takes advantage of Beyoncé’s pipes by having her sing a new song written especially for the film that she wrote with [music producer] Lebo M. and composer Hans Zimmer.
“They were all collaborating with her and helping to bring this new piece of music into a film where there’s already a very established musical personality to the piece,” Favreau said. “So it was nice of them to have them working with her to allow the new song to feel organically a part of the new production.”
Although Favreau said Beyoncé was “incredibly engaged and committed” in the production, he admits the main benefit of working with her came when he was home with his family.
“I was pretty stoked because I knew my stock was going to rise in my home,” he laughed.
“The Lion King” debuts in theaters July 19.