Bill Eichner absolutely nailed it in 2019’s The Lion King, but what else has he been in?
“Hakuna Matata, it means no worries, for the rest of your days!”
Remaking their entire body of work may have been Disney’s problem-free philosophy, but now, The Lion King has arrived. They have found recent success in reimagining old classics recently, from Beauty and the Beast to The Jungle Book. Critics and audiences both found a lot to admire in them, but their latest attempt to breathe new life into an old tale has been far more divisive.
The 1994 original is regarded as one of the most beloved family films of all time, so remaking it was always going to prove a little more tricky than the aforementioned efforts. It was called a live-action reworking by many, but really, it’s as artificial as the previous; what we have here is photorealistic CGI. In this respect, 2019’s The Lion King can be called an astonishing visual achievement. The animals look and move like animals, but this poses problems too. Many have felt that the voice work of the actors doesn’t match the faces of the characters, which makes it feel emotionless sometimes.
However, it’s actually the voice work we’re here to single out and champion…
Disney’s The Lion King: Let’s talk Timon!
Say what you will about the intentions of the film, but the voice cast – for the most part – actually do a really great job of honouring the original.
Chiwetel Ejiofor perhaps had the biggest boots to fill, providing a new take on Jeremy Iron’s iconic villain, Scar. However, he did a tremendous job, while still bringing something more unsettling to the role. John Oliver did a great job as Zazu too, but if we’re talking about the true standouts, they would have to be Timon and Pumbaa.
We all knew Seth Rogen would nail it as Pumbaa, and of course, he did just that. He’s a huge name, but going into it, Billy Eichner certainly wasn’t. These two characters would be lost without one another, which means chemistry between the actors was of the utmost importance. Fortunately, Billy and Seth have won everyone over, and are arguably the most crowd-pleasing takeaway from the entire production.
So, who is Billy Eichner?
Billy Eichner: Previous roles
We’ve seen his co-star in the likes of Steve Jobs, Superbad, Bad Neighbours and more – but where have we seen him?
Well, it turns out that Seth and Billy have shared the screen before; both starred in the 2016 sequel Neighbors 2: Sorority Rising. A film like this is far away from The Lion King in its approach to comedy, but it’s clear why Billy was approached for the role of Timon.
The actor has worked family movies before and has provided voice work for such efforts as The Angry Birds Movie, voicing Chef Pig and Phillip. Then, he also played the New York Reporter in Penguins of Madagascar. Of course, these are animated efforts, so it’s worth looking at the projects which actually show us his face.
He is perhaps best known by many as Craig Middlebrooks from the widely adored TV series Parks and Recreation, which stars the likes of Amy Poehler, Aubrey Plaza and Chris Pratt.
Additionally, Billy has appeared in American Horror Story, Difficult People, Bob’s Burgers and more.
After The Lion King, there are surely lots of people who want to see him flex his comedy muscles on another project; we’d even go as far to say let’s give him and Seth their own buddy-comedy feature.
It doesn’t look like anything matching that description is in the works as of yet, but there is something. According to IMDb, he’s set to star in an upcoming Christmas movie called Noelle, which will tell the story of Santa’s daughter taking over the family business.
It’s billed as a family-fantasy movie and will star such big names as Anna Kendrick (Pitch Perfect) and Bill Hader (It: Chapter Two). So, that’s something to look forward to; although there is no release date yet, we can probably expect it in 2019.
In other news, get to know After‘s Hero Fiennes-Tiffin.