*Disney announced it is rolling out the red carpet for the re-release of the Oscar and Golden Globe winning film “The Lion King” with a two-week theatrical extravaganza that kicks off on Sept. 16, 2011 in Disney Digital 3D that is sure to enthrall and captivate old and new fans alike.
The beloved and popular animated classic, which still holds the record as the highest grossing animated movie of all time, makes its home entertainment debut on Oct. 4, celebrating the Diamond Edition release in high definition Blu-Ray and Blu-Ray 3D.
The new Blue Ray version contains a host of picture and sound enhancements, interactive features and bonus content, including a new set of hilarious animated bloopers.
Fans will once again enjoy the antics of Simba, Mufasa, Nala, Timon, Pumbaa and, of course, Rafiki, the wise old shaman baboon voiced by veteran actor Robert Guillaume.
Guillaume said he was pleased to herald the re-release of The Lion King classic, a tale of courage, loyalty and hope. The Lion King first roared into theatres in 1994 and tells the touching and heartfelt story of the lion cub Simba and his father, Mufasa, king of the Pride Lands.
The classically trained Guillaume, who is now confined to a wheelchair, was in high spirits during a recent press junket to talk about assuming the voice of Rafiki.
Despite Guillaume’s stellar acting background that includes roles on Broadway as well as television, the veteran actor revealed he had to audition for the voiceover role of Rafiki.
“I searched for a sound in the voice and accent that we thought would work. After we found the voice, it was a lot of fun (voicing the part),” Guillaume recalled. “Not only that, the Lion King is a great story-a universal one about the love between a father and son.”
For those unfamiliar with the story, Mufasa is killed in a wildebeest stampede and Simba is blamed for his death by his evil uncle Scar. Little does Simba know that it was Scar who orchestrated Mufasa’s death in his ruthless efforts to become King of the Pride Lands. To ensure that he is next in line, Scar tells Simba to run away and never return. Filled with guilt, Simba flees the Pride Lands. It is only at the urging of Nala, a beautiful young lioness, and the help of the wise old Rafiki that Simba returns to his home and assumes his role as king.
The Lion King also features the voices of Matthew Broderick, Nathan Lane, Whoopi Goldberg, James Earl Jones, Jeremy Irons, Ernie Sabella, Jonathan Taylor Thomas, Cheech Marin and Moira Kelly, as well as five popular songs by legendary singer/songwriter Elton John and Academy Award-winning lyricist Tim Rice.