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Seth Rogen joked that he was “shocked” that Disney allowed him to promote The Lion King when he visited ABC’s Jimmy Kimmel Live on Wednesday.
“I could only hurt things. The movie, I think, is gonna do well. It does not need me out here,” said the actor. “I’m genuinely curious why they think this is anything but potentially bad for them.”
Rogen shared that he brought his young nephews to the Lion King premiere, which was exciting because they aren’t allowed to see his other, frequently R-rated films. “I think that they were starting to think that I was lying to them about being an actor,” he explained. “It was like my fake girlfriend in Canada.”
In addition to Rogen’s family members, Beyoncé also attended the premiere. “Everyone was losing their mind,” he said about the superstar walking the red carpet.
Rogen explained that Jon Favreau, the film’s director, brought the cast onstage before the screening. “One by one we were called out onstage to wave, and Beyoncé was called out and the audience stood up and went crazy,” he said. “I was like, ‘She’s getting a standing ovation for just existing.’ Her mere presence was a reason to stand and go crazy, and I totally got it. I was like, ‘Yeah, we should celebrate it. We made it. We’re all in a room with Beyoncé.'”
“I know they weren’t clapping for me, but I was on the stage and for a brief moment felt what it must feel like to have that adulation,” he continued. “All I was thinking was like, ‘Oh, people do not like me that much.'”
Rogen added that he spoke to Beyoncé backstage after she approached him. “I wasn’t going to go up to her, mostly for fear,” the actor said before he shared that he tried to meet her at the Grammys about 11 years ago and her security team “knocked” him so hard that he spilled his drink. “I was wary of going near her because I look like someone who you would want to keep away from Beyoncé in general. And so I waited for her to approach me.” Rogen said that she was “very nice,” though his beard got stuck on her sequined ensemble.
Later in the interview, Rogen said that he grew up as a fan of the original Lion King film. “It was one of my favorite movies,” he said. “In my head, when I was, like, 6, it came out, and I watched it over and over. I found out recently I was 13 when it came out, which is pretty old to be really into a Disney cartoon. I was about to go into high school.
“So, despite it being a little probably below my demographic, I was a huge fan of The Lion King. I specifically loved Timon and Pumbaa. I thought they were hilarious,” said the actor, who plays Pumbaa in the film. Billy Eichner plays Timon. “And I generally used the phrase ‘No worries’ a lot, so it all kind of came together.”
Rogen also spoke about singing in the film. “I share a song credit with Beyonce, which is crazy,” he said. Rogen then joked, “It must be a big deal for her, so I’m happy about that. She’s worked hard.”
“I’m not a trained singer. I have not sung a lot in my life in a professional manner,” he said. “I was, like, ‘You could just Auto-Tune me.’ I don’t think Britney Spears ever sang, honestly. They didn’t want to do that, and they were like, ‘No, we actually want you to sing.'”
He then reflected on working with Pharrell Williams and Hans Zimmer to record the songs. “It was me in a little booth with Hans and Pharrell on the other side,” he said. “As a Jew, I’m instantly uncomfortable around any Hans, you know. You don’t want to anger a guy names Hans.”
“I would sing. I would do a take and then behind the soundproof glass I would see Hans and Pharrell throwing their hands up and pointing to each other and kind of pointing at me and gesturing,” he said. “And then very nicely Pharrell would be like, ‘Yeah, let’s just try it one more time.’ And then I would try it again and I would just see Hans just like, ‘Ugh.'”
Rogen also talked about playing the warthog, which he was told “would be much uglier than in the original.” He said, “No one knew what a warthog looked like. That’s what I learned from this whole experience.”
“What would be uglier than a warthog?” Rogen wondered, and Kimmel proffered that a herpes rabbit sounds ugly. Responded Rogen, “A herpes rabbit even sounds kind of cute, to be totally honest. If it’s got herpes, it’s got to have some attractiveness in some way.”
Watch the full interview below.
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