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Though the upcoming Lion King film has a slew of big stars — including Beyonce Knowles-Carter, Donald Glover, Seth Rogen and more — Billy Eichner admitted that meeting the royals marked a moment when each of the film’s stars was starstruck.
“We were all kind of nervous, even Beyonce,” the actor, who plays Timon in the upcoming film, explained of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle attending the Lion King London premiere during his Thursday night appearance on Jimmy Kimmel Live!
The actor proceeded to explain that his nerves began in the days leading to the premiere, simply because of the strict guidelines the stars receive on how to behave and act when in the presence of the royals. “In the days leading up to you, they email you a protocol of how you’re supposed to greet Prince Harry and Meghan and they’re very intense about it,” Eichner said.
He then explained that such rules included referring to Prince Harry and Markle as “Your royal highness,” waiting to speak until you are giving them a handshake and having guests stand behind you.
“My friend couldn’t speak unless he was spoken to,” Eichner said, before joking that he wasn’t sure that same rule applied to Knowles-Carter’s husband, Jay-Z.
“I completely freaked out, although they were very, very nice and totally chill and down-to-earth and lovely,” the actor continued to say of the “beautiful-looking” royals. Despite being nervous, Eichner also revealed that he and Markle shared a kinship after realizing they attended the same school.
“Meghan and I went to the same college in Northwestern. We were both theater majors. I didn’t know her when we were in theater. So we had this strange conversation about our acting teachers.”
Later on, Eichner also discussed how he is living his childhood dreams by having a song with Knowles-Carter, whom he described as “our American royalty.”
“I started thinking I was going to to be on Broadway when I was a kid … I really wanted to be a child star on Broadway but I was a big, fat, sweaty, gay, Jewish kid,” he joked. He then added that now he is “singing with Beyonce” in a film, which makes up for it. To celebrate the monumental moment, Kimmel gifted him with overalls that are embroidered with the sentence: “I’m on a song with Beyonce.” “This would’ve fit me as a sweaty, fat, gay 12-year-old,” Eichner quipped.
Eichner later discussed his sentiments about Taylor Swift. He admitted that he was “hurt” after not being asked to appear in Swift’s music video for her anti-hate anthem single “You Need to Calm Down”, which featured many stars in Hollywood making cameos. “Literally every gay person on television was in the video except for me,” Eichner said. “I was never called. I wasn’t angry. Just hurt because I’ve been a proud gay man all my life until this video. I would’ve loved to have been in the video.”
Eichner then joked that he was going to even the playing field by joining forces with country duo Brooks & Dunn for a music video about “how great straight people are.”
The Lion King hits theaters July 19.
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