We're closing in on the long-awaited release of Disney's live(ish) action remake of The Lion King. We've had emotional trailers, teasers of Beyoncé's voice as Nala and her duet with Donald Glover on "Can You Feel The Love Tonight?" and a series of posters that didn't go down too well on Twitter.
This promotional trail has been long, and to follow the almost intimidatingly powerful character portraits that were released last week, we've now been gifted our first group shot. We can only imagine the extent of hair, makeup and security teams that followed this all-star cast into a barren, unsuspecting studio for our first proper look at one of the most exciting ensembles of the year and, boy, is there a lot to unpick from the result.
Throwing some of the world's most famous celebrities in a room for a school photo-style shoot will always produce some interesting (read: hilarious) observations and speculations. Like, who actually turned up and who had to be photoshopped in? And if there's music playing in the background, they all look like they're listening to completely different songs. Below you'll find 10 more of the most conflicting (and shady) thoughts I had when I zoomed in on this already historic snapshot. Will this make you any less excited for the film? Absolutely not. Will you chuckle at the fact that even Beyoncé couldn't save a team picture from awkward positioning, uncomfortable smiles and curious sartorial statements? One hundred percent. Here's everything else you won't be able to unnotice.
There’s a lot of purposeful hand placement
Hands look awkward in photos. Always. The uncomfortable fist hold on the front left. The nervous finger clasp hovering in the back right. Beyoncé’s hand to hip isn’t sitting right either. And those three at the front – Donald Glover, Chiwetel Ejiofor and Keegan-Michael Key – were all given the same instruction: "Put one hand on your knee and let the other relax in front of you. No, relax. Just let it fall nonchalantly. Yeah, like Donald. Do it like Donald."
Is John Oliver (Zazu) squatting, crouching or flying?
Wouldn’t it be wonderful to hear that John was taking his role as Zazu the bird so seriously that he committed to behaving like one for all Lion King promo?
Is Beyoncé (Nala) even there?
No. No, she’s not. But all good photographers will have a cardboard cut-out of Beyoncé at the 2015 Met Gala lurking around the studio somewhere. All it needs is a digital outfit change in post-production and sign-off from the Queen herself because, obviously, she had a million other things to do that day.
Why is JD McCrary (Young Simba) wearing a watch?
You can’t unsee it when you see it. Could we have the face of TAG Heuer Kids sat before us? Is this the campaign launch?
Is Seth Rogen (Pumbaa) okay?
It looks like Seth arrived a little late to the shoot and had to slot into the back, poor guy. He clearly wasn’t happy with the stylist who slid him into that jacket and said: "Let’s just zip it up to here." But he was in a rush and had no choice but to literally grin and bear it.
Donald Glover (Simba) needs some socks
Donald knows a power stance. Donald knows a smoulder. Donald (hopefully) knows what this knowledgeably sexy look does to my insides. But those loafers don’t look the sort to be particularly comfortable barefoot. Donald, my dear, are you wearing pop socks?
How long was spent perfecting the fabric creases?
The most incidental aspects of celebrity photo shoots tend to be the most laborious to pull off. So who had the job of laying the blue-grey fabric, and how many times were they shouted at for not making sure the parameters of that middle triangle directed the eye to Donald and Beyoncé?
Someone made a huge error seating Chiwetel Ejiofor (Scar) so low down
He risks being a little lost down there. Maybe they had a "Your head can’t be higher than the king (Donald Glover)" moment.
Christ, Florence Kasumba (Shenzi) is majestic
That dress is almost as exceptional as she is. Where are the shots of Florence and Alfre Woodard (Sarabi) side by side, please?
James Earl Jones (Mufasa) is sorely missed here
He voiced Mufasa in the original animated production and he's back to do it one more time. His warm, familiar face might've done this shot some good.
The Lion King is in cinemas from 19th July