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Lion King Royal Premiere

LONDON Real royals converged with star royalty at 'The Lion King' premiere in London last night. The yellow carpet at the Leicester Square premiere paved the way for Meghan Markle, the Duchess of Sussex, and Prince Harry. Abigail Parkin

The international star attendance was led by Beyonce, who voices Nala in the film, and her husband, Jay Z. Parenting advice was apparent as the US couple warmly congratulated the British royals on their first child.

Beyonce stepped out in a gold custom Cong Trigown with a high-leg slit. Royal refinement saw Meghan Markle (above) attend in a more demure black, full-skirt dress by Jason Wu with Aquazzura slingback pumps with crystal detailing and clutch bag. 

Keegan-Michael Key, Florence Kasumba, Seth Rogen, Elton John, Lebo M, BeyoncŽ Knowles-Carter,
Pharrell Williams, Sir Tim Rice, Billy Eichner, Jon Favreau and Hans Zimmer attend

The star quota included Pharrell Williams, Elton John and Jon Favreau, the director of the new Disney film.

The film screening took us to the African savannah where a future king is born. Simba idolises his father, King Mufasa, well aware of his own royal destiny. But Scar, Mufasa’s brother—and former heir to the throne—has plans of his own. Thus commences the battle for Pride Rock ultimately resulting in Simba’s exile. With a pair of newfound friends, Simba will have to figure out how to grow up and take back what is rightfully his.

Beyonce and Elton John in a clinch at the European premiere

“It’s such a beloved property,” said director Favreau (‘The Jungle Book,’ Marvel Studios’ ‘Iron Man’). “Disney has had tremendous success with the original animated version and then the Broadway musical. I knew that I had to be very careful with it. I felt a tremendous responsibility not to screw it up. I wanted to demonstrate that we could be respectful of the source material while bringing it to life using mind-blowing techniques and technologies.”

Pharrell Williams goes shorts-chic in Leicester Square's sun

The technology far outpaced the original film with a blend of live-action filmmaking techniques and photoreal computer-generated imagery. Environments were designed within a game engine; state-of-the-art virtual-reality tools allowed Favreau to walk around in the virtual set, scouting and setting up shots as if he were standing in Africa alongside Simba.

Beyonce and Jay-Z on the yellow carpet
Pharrell Williams consorts with David Furnish and Elton John

According to the director, the performances breathe life and humanity into the story. “The casting allows for interpretation while maintaining the spirit and personality of the classic characters,” he says. The all-star lineup includes stars from film, TV, theater and music, bringing back to the big screen iconic characters that audiences have long treasured—but in a whole new way.

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