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Why Chiwetel Ejiofor is the perfect choice for The Lion King's villainous Scar


Disney's array of live-action remakes is now in full swing, with Dumbo due for release on 29th March and Aladdin on 24th May. And arriving in July is a new vision of the studio's 1994 masterpiece, The Lion King.

Helmed by The Jungle Book film-maker Jon Favreau, The Lion King has united an all-star cast to take on the roles of these beloved Disney characters, including Donald Glover as Simba, Beyonce as Nala and a returning James Earl Jones, whose booming voice will once again echo from the clouds as Mufasa.

Of course, a Disney film is only as good as its villain, and Oscar nominee Chiwetel Ejiofor will be adding his dulcet tones as Simba's treacherous uncle Scar. Here's why we think he is the perfect (purr-fect?) choice…

He's got the acting chops

Back in 2014, Ejiofor was Oscar-nominated for his devastating performance in the brutally tragic 12 Years a Slave. Through his portrayal of persecuted American slave Solomon Northup, Ejiofor masterfully demonstrates his ability not only to carry a film but to fill it with the kind of pathos deserving of award recognition.

Indeed, throughout his work on the big screen, Ejiofor has proven his vast acting talent time and again. From performances as diverse as Kinky Boots' drag queen to a philosophising martial arts expert in David Mamet's Redbelt, Ejiofor evidently has the range and acting chops to make Scar all his own.

He can sing

We aren't yet sure how much of the beloved Lion King soundtrack will feature in the reimagining. However, given that composer Hans Zimmer, along with songwriters and performers Elton John and Tim Rice, are all back for more, we can surely expect something faithful to the original.

And if you're curious as to whether Ejiofor's vocal range will get an airing, don't forget he unleashed his vocal range in 2005 comedy-drama Kinky Boots. Though it has been rumoured that fan-favourite villain's song 'Be Prepared' will not feature, it would be a shame if Ejiofor was given zero opportunity to shine.

He plays well in ensemble casts

Anyone in any way familiar with The Lion King will know that the story brings together a wonderfully eccentric cast of characters. Thankfully, Ejiofor has already shown he can work very well as part of a large ensemble.

From the vast cast of characters in romantic comedy and holiday darling Love Actually, to leading a group of ragtag criminals in the crime thriller Triple 9, Ejiofor is a great collaborator, as well as a compelling actor. He is not only able to stand out but also elevate those around him, meaning he's a perfect addition to the Lion King pack.

He's played villains before

He might be playing Scar, but this isn't the first time Ejiofor has dabbled grappled with the dark side. And he's also played many characters who share traits with the scheming big cat.

Double-crossing and vying for leadership was the theme driving his character Luke in dystopian thriller Children of Men, and he played cold, calculating baddie The Operative in Joss Whedon's Serenity.

And in 2016's Doctor Strange (coincidentally, another Disney movie), Ejiofor appeared to be established as a future Marvel villain. His character Baron Mordo may have come in the guise of a mentor opposite Benedict Cumberbatch's title character, but he ended the movie on a dark and apparently treacherous note. 

The Lion King is released on 19th July, so tweet us @Cineworld with your thoughts on Chiwetel Ejiofor as Scar.

Jon Fuge is a writer who blogs for Cineworld as part of our news team.