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Lion King Teddy Bear

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14 Fun Facts About The Lion King

1. The opening scene is the jam! The first scene for The Lion King is so incredibly powerful that Disney didn’t make a trailer in the usual clip show format; instead, they used the first scene of the film. And really, you can’t go wrong with “Circle of Life.”

2. It started with a different title. Initially, the film was called The King of the Kalahari, but then it was changed to King of the Jungle. Then the filmmakers realized that lions don’t actually reside in the jungle, but rather in the savanna. They made a quick change, and The Lion King title was born. Lion King Teddy Bear

3. It was gonna be way more heavy. In one of the earlier treatments of the film, the story was to be about a war between lions and baboons, with Rafiki as a cheetah and Scar as the leader of the baboons. The initial drafts of the script were light on the laughs and far more serious. Thankfully, they lightened it up.

4. It wasn’t always a musical. When the film was first conceived, they intended that it would have more of a documentary vibe. It was to be way more realistic, without any musical numbers. Thankfully, after the urging of the lyricist Tim Rice (of Aladdin fame), they hired the one and only Elton John to write the songs, and the next thing you know, we have singing hyenas and warthogs.

5. The Lion King + ABBA: Yeah, that almost happened. Before they approached Elton John, Tim Rice had reached out to the Swedish super group ABBA (Rice had worked with them on the concept album Chess), but they were working on an opera, of all things, and didn’t take the job. Lion King Teddy Bear

6. Hello, Bamblet! The writers of the film felt that it was a mash-up of the narratives from Bambi and Hamlet, so they’d privately refer to the film as Bamblet. While Bamblet does have a certain ring to it, we’re glad they stuck with The Lion King.

7. They brought a real lion in studio. Back in the day when Walt Disney was creating Bambi, the studio sent animators into the woods and even brought in live deer to the studio for artists to study. They did the same thing for The Lion King, bringing in a real live lion into the animation studios, with Jim Fowler of TV’s Wild Kingdom keeping watch.

8. They traveled to get it JUST right. Disney filmmakers are fond of traveling all around the globe for inspiration: Norway for Frozen, Fiji for Moana, and even Barcelona for Wreck-It Ralph. For The Lion King, animators and artists spent two weeks studying in Africa, including Hell’s Gate National Park in Kenya, which was the inspiration for Pride Rock. Lion King Teddy Bear

9. The Lion King has a morbid claim to fame. This is the only Disney movie that shows a villain (in this case Scar) committing murder. In every other Disney animated film, any murders are attempted or carried out offscreen.

10. Not even an earthquake can stop art. The filmmakers didn’t let a natural disaster impinge on their project. After the massive 1994 Northridge earthquake shut down the studio, the film’s animators finished their work from home. And the animators were BUSY: More than a million drawings were created for the film, which featured 1,197 hand-painted backgrounds and 119,058 individually colored frames. Lion King Teddy Bear

11. Celebrities helped shape the characters. When creating the visual characteristics of the animals, the animators found inspiration from their human counterparts. For Scar, animator Andreas Dejas looked to the face of Jeremy Irons, who voiced him in the film. An early incarnation of Simba had a mane of hair “like Jon Bon Jovi,” but after Matthew Broderick was cast, the character became smoother and more refined. (We’d still pay good money to see a Bovi-esque Simba.)

12. The Lion King vs. Pocahontas was a thing. In the early ’90s, Disney animation was working on two films at the same time. Potential team members were enticed to work on one project or the other with wine and cheese parties featuring concept art. Many opted to work on Pocahontas, thinking that The Lion King was a riskier experiment — especially since it was an original story and not based on source material like most of Disney’s films up to that point. Lion King Teddy Bear BOTW Switch Case

13. Elton John was wary of “Hakuna Matata.” While the animators were on a tour in Africa, one of the guides said “hakuna matata” in passing. When Tim Rice heard the phrase, he knew it would be a fantastic hook. Elton John wasn’t as thrilled, worrying that the song would mar his legacy. “I sat there with a line of lyrics that began, ‘When I was a young warthog,’” John said in 1995, “and I thought, ‘Has it come to this?’”

14. The “Circle of Life” chanter once parked cars. South African composer and singer Lebo Morake met composer Hans Zimmer while parking cars in Los Angeles as an exile from the apartheid regime in his home country. Morake went on to create the unforgettable chant in the beginning of “Circle of Life,” along with other parts of the film’s score. Lion King Teddy Bear

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