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Actor, rapper, film-maker... Is there anything The Lion King's Donald Glover can't do?


This July sees the release of Disney's most anticipated live-action remake yet: The Lion King.

A much-loved classic, the original was part of the Disney renaissance of the late 1980s and early-to-mid 1990s that redeemed the company's animated fortunes. Showcasing photo-realistic CGI, with a soundtrack from returnees Hans Zimmer, Elton John and Tim Rice, the remake, directed by Jon Favreau, promises to be spectacular.

As well as the return of James Earl Jones as wise lion father Mufasa (because who else would have been able to do it?), an action-packed voice line up includes Beyonce as Nala, Chiwetel Ejiofor as Scar and Seth Rogen as Pumbaa.

Another reason to be excited is the casting of Donald Glover as (adult) Simba. Glover is perhaps one of the most exciting personalities in Hollywood right now. A talented, actor, musician, comedian, writer… the list goes on. We're sure you're all familiar with his work by now but just in case, here are some highlights of his amazing career so far.

Who is Donald Glover?

Donald Glover first came to mainstream attention in 2009, in the surreal comedy show Community. The show is based around a group of misfits attending college, and he starred as Troy, a former quarterback trying to get himself back on track. Eventually he ends up eschewing his jock persona and embracing the nerdy free spirit inside of him.

The effortless chemistry between Troy and Abed (played by Danny Pudi) made the show a hit and garnered critical acclaim for Glover, including various Emmy nominations as a Breakout Star and Outstanding Actor in a Comedy Series.

What movies has Donald Glover appeared in?

Glover left Community in 2014 and a year later he appeared in Ridley Scott's The Martian. He played Rich Purnell, an astrodynamicist (nope we've never heard of one of those either) who discovers a way to save stranded astronaut Matt Damon's life when he is trapped on Mars.

Many believe it was this role that opened the doors for him to progress in Hollywood. Since then, he's made brief appearances in the likes of Magic Mike XXL, and a significant, fan-pleasing one in Solo: A Star Wars Story, playing the suave, caped, younger incarnation of Han Solo's best bud (and eventual betrayer) Lando Calrissian.

He also appeared opposite Tom Holland as Aaron Davis in Spider-Man: Homecoming – he's the uncle of Miles Morales, aka the alternate Spider-Man who took centre-stage in last year's hit Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse.

Who is Donald Glover's musical alter-ego?

That would be Childish Gambino, the musical tour-de-force who recently brought the house down at 2019's Coachella Festival.

Blending hip-hop, rap soul and a host of other genres, Gambino's provocative lyrics and beats creatively address issues of race and identity, most famously in 2018's sensational 'This is America'. The Grammy-winning track juxtaposes Glover's dancing in the foreground with all manner of violent, racially-charged incidents in the background, setting a new standard for both his own career and music videos in general.

Side note: at the same time he was getting attention for The Martian, Glover was also busy getting nominated for Grammy's for his sophomore album Because the Internet, and it's first single 3005 because, it seems, that's what Donald Glover does.

What is Donald Glover's TV show?

Not content with 'just' acting and making hit music (as well as making critically acclaimed stand-up specials for Comedy Central), in 2016 Glover's personal project Atlanta made its debut on TV Channel FX. As well as being the show's main star, Glover is also listed as creator, director and producer.

Atlanta is the story of a man struggling through life, who tries to reconnect with his rapping cousin to establish a better existence for himself and his daughter, and it has proven to be a hit. The show has won a slew of awards for acting and directing, including a Primetime Emmy and Golden Globe for Outstanding Actor in a Television Series. It has also helped launch the careers of actors Lakeith Stanfield (Get Out) and Brian Tyree Henry (Widows).

What is Guava Island?

Just recently, Glover added another string to his bow with short film Guava Island, directed by 'This is America' helmer Hiro Murai, and adapted from a story Glover came up with himself.

The movie pairs Glover with fellow music A-lister Rihanna and made its debut at Coachella 2019, before being released onto Amazon Prime. Pitched as a musical folk tale, it centres on Cuban musician Deni who "is determined to throw a festival for his island community". The soundtrack allows incorporates several of Childish Gambino's numbers, including the Grammy-nominated 'Feels Like Summer'.

What do we need to know about The Lion King?

Director Jon Favreau returns to Disney following 2016's blockbusting The Jungle Book, a movie that took seamless CGI landscapes and characters to new heights. Judging by the trailer, the new Lion King movie hews close to the memorable imagery from the 1994 original, including Pride Rock, the Circle of Life opening and, of course, the infamous wildebeest stampede.

We haven't yet heard Glover's voice as the adult Simba, but we're sure his natural charisma will resonate through the layers of impressive CGI technology.

The Lion King is released on 19th July. Tweet us your favourite Donald Glover moments @Cineworld.

Marvyn Wilson is a writer who blogs for Cineworld as part of our news team.