The Lion King opens in theaters nationwide this weekend. I sat down with stars of The Lion King Shahadi Wright Joseph and JD McCrary. You’ll recognize their voices as Young Nala and Young Simba. We discussed how this experience was different for them, what their goals are for the future, and most importantly, did they meet Beyonce?!
Interview With The Lion King Stars Shahadi Wright Joseph and JD McCrary
The Lion King opens tonight in theaters nationwide and is expected to grab a big part of the box office this weekend. It Just Can’t-Wait To Be King— of the box office. See what I did there?
I sat down for an interview with the young stars of the movie, Shahadi Wright Joseph and JD McCrary, during their Washington, DC press stop.
We talked a little Disney, what it’s like to be part of the cast, and how many times they got to meet Beyonce (because, duh!).
But my favorite part of the interview is when they talked about their dream roles someday.
These kids aren’t afraid to put goals out into the universe!
And I’m totally 1000% down with these plans. Disney, make it happen.
You can find more from both of these artists through their music: Shine, Keep in Touch, and My Name from JD McCrary
Skin I’m In from Shahadi Wright Joseph
About The Lion King (2019)
Disney’s “The Lion King, directed by Jon Favreau, journeys to the African savanna where a future king is born. Simba idolizes his father, King Mufasa, and takes to heart his own royal destiny. But not everyone in the kingdom celebrates the new cub’s arrival. Scar, Mufasa’s brother—and former heir to the throne—has plans of his own.
The battle for Pride Rock is ravaged with betrayal, tragedy, and drama, ultimately resulting in Simba’s exile. With help from a curious pair of newfound friends, Simba will have to figure out how to grow up and take back what is rightfully his.
The all-star cast includes Donald Glover as Simba, Beyoncé Knowles-Carter as Nala, James Earl Jones as Mufasa, Chiwetel Ejiofor as Scar, Seth Rogen as Pumbaa and Billy Eichner as Timon. Utilizing pioneering filmmaking techniques to bring treasured characters to life in a whole new way, Disney’s “The Lion King” roars into theaters on July 19, 2019.
Runtime: 118 minutes
Partial Transcript of the Interview With The Lion King Stars Shahadi Wright Joseph and JD McCrary
Shahadi: My mom never had another name for me she was like we just bought Shahadi. Yeah that was it.
JD: I was gonna be named like Butch or something tough like Butch or Rex or something
Shahadi: Rex but you do look like a Rex.
JD: I was gonna be named something tough but they said JayDon
Shahadi: let’s do this!
Patty: Today I’m sharing an interview from two stars of The Lion King is directed by Jon Favreau and it opens tonight, it’s going to have a huge opening weekend. I know it you know it does, he knows it. And it’s exciting. I love it. When I get a chance to interview people who are part of these big huge movies. It is one of my favorite things about doing what I do and being part of this whole industry. It just makes it all that much more exciting for fangirls like me.
I sat down with a JD McCrary who voices young Simba and Shahadi Wright Joseph who voices young Nala- and these musicians, actors or just a pleasure to sit and chat with.
And even though they are complete professionals, which you will hear in this interview, they are, you know, being allowed to just be kids now, kids who happen to be on this huge adventure with their first and hopefully not last Disney film, that they’re handling this press so beautifully.
We had a great conversation about the whole spectacle that is The Lion King and being part of this historic movie and what that means to them. Shahadi was young Nala on Broadway, so she’s been living with this character for a bit. She was also most recently in Jordan Peeles US.
JD was new to Lion King, but as the youngest recording artists to sign with Hollywood Records, he’s no stranger to the business. He was most recently in the movie Little. And both have new music out now. So go check that out. And we get all that information here in the interview for you.
Now, I have kids that are about the same age as these two like almost exactly the same age as these two, which by the way, today is JD his birthday so happy birthday JD and they had such a brotherly sisterly chemistry that I see at home and I just guys I just smiled the whole time we were talking now in this interview we were joined with Colleen from Adventure Moms DC dot com Ti from The Style Medic dot com.
So you’ll hear their voices in there as well and you should go check out their blogs.
Alright everyone, meet Shahadi and JD.
Patty: Hi, welcome to DC! Have you been here before?
Shahadi: Thank you. Well, I’ve been here like three times before. So I had been to the African American Museum, I’ve seen the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial. And what else? That was it? I’ve been to the capital. Yeah.
Colleen: You guys leaving right after this?
JD: Yep. We are going to Boston, but I’ve seen nothing here.
On their visit to Disney World: Shahadi’s first trip, but JD’s been a few times.
JD: I have actually been there twice. Before this year, I had never been to Disneyland or Disney World or any or any Disney place. Yeah, I had never been but now I’ve been to all of them in the total four times, so that’s great.
Patty: I saw that you guys went to the festival, The Lion King.
Shahadi: That was so much fun. And then we saw the fireworks after the fireworks show was really cool.
JD: Yeah, the singers were just so on point.
Shahadi: I know right awesome. They were just amazing. So we were like really excited to perform there. Imagine going to the show an hour before and missing. And then you heard about it and then you’re like, yeah, showed up on the wrong day!
Patty: What was your reaction to getting cast in The Lion King?
Shahadi: Okay. So we were sitting at breakfast, my family and I and then we got a call from my agent and her Assistant was like really happy for some reason, really happy tone to his voice. And so we were like, Okay, and so my agent like screamed on the phone and she was like, You got Lion King and we were just so excited. We were like jumping around and screaming and it was just, it was so exciting. I mean, that was literally like my first feature film that I had ever gotten. So it was just really, really exciting.
JD: Yeah, um, how I got the call for the Lion King. It was, it was pretty exciting, actually. So my mom got the call. She had like a little business call, um, and then she got off the phone, and she looked at me and she said, Hey, JD, you got a roll in The Lion King movie and I was like, What? Yeah, I’m not gonna recreate that because I was screaming too much. But I was really happy we prayed about it.
I was happy about it. We threw a party It was good times, good times.
Listen to the full interview on The No-Guilt Fangirls Podcast found on all the major podcast players!
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Patty Holliday is a movie critic, writer, and podcaster living in the Washington, DC area. Her goal is to bridge the gap between casual fandom and picky critic with parent movie and television reviews.