The full cast for Disney’s live-action remake of The Lion King was announced 2017, and people are understandably freaking the fuck out because it is absolutely stacked.
And one of the casting choices that has everyone most excited is that of Beyoncé in the role of Nala. But I’m… not so sure about that.
Look. I love Beyoncé. I saw her in Chicago on the Formation World Tour and it was far and away the best concert of my life. When she performed Countdown I shed actual tears even though I was dead sober and that song isn’t even sad.
I am a Beyoncé fan, is what I’m saying. She is a consummate performer, a role model, and a veritable deity. Not only would I let her punch me in the face, I’d fucking love it.
But despite the myriad talents Queen Bey possesses, there is one that she distinctly does not: Beyoncé is a bad actor.
She’s not unwatchable — after all, she’s still Beyoncé, a visual delight. But that’s the root of the problem. Onscreen, she never quite manages to stop being Beyoncé, and nobody is really willing to talk about it.
Take, for instance, the supposed Beyoncé vehicle Dreamgirls. Rumors swirled after the film’s released that Beyoncé was jealous of all of the attention her co-star Jennifer Hudson received for her performance.
And a 2006 interview with MTV kind of fully confirms that, even though the headline boasts that Beyoncé commented to “end the drama.” Read for yourself:
“I didn’t have the part with the most drama, I was fine with that,” Knowles clarified. “I’m not doing this to become a star or prove that I can sing. I’ve already won nine Grammys and everyone knows that I can sing. I did this mainly to know I can act, to know myself and show everyone else that I could. I’m extremely happy with the movie. I’m extremely proud of Jennifer… Why would I be mad at Jennifer?” she continued. “I can only imagine the pressure she had being a woman that’s never had an album, never done a movie.”
Holy shit, Beyoncé.
To be fair, Hudson also confirmed that Beyoncé was a “sweet girl” and that they “always got along.” But… Still. When you know, you know.
And besides the weird timeframe where she was typecast Hot Spy Sidekick in Austin Powers: Goldmember and The Pink Panther in the early 2000s, Beyoncé’s only other major acting credit is Obsessed, which she stars in alongside Idris Alba.
Obsessed is not a good movie. It’s entertaining, and I can’t say that I don’t like it, but it is objectively, actively Bad. It has a Rotten Tomatoes score of 19 percent, and of the 89 reviews of the film that the site aggregated, only 17 of them are positive.
It’s an extremely predictable thriller in which Beyoncé plays a wife who has to defend her virtuous husband from the advances of a psychotic temp who wants to steal him away from her. If the cast wasn’t so star-studded, it would be a Lifetime movie — and not even one of the iconic ones.
Also, there’s a scene where Beyoncé physically fights Ali Larter over Idris Elba, and it is so fucking funny.
It remains to be seen exactly how the live-action Lion King is going to play out. If it’s similar to Disney’s Jungle Book remake and populated solely by CGI animals, then Beyoncé’s subpar acting skills probably won’t be that big of a deal.
Like, her speaking voice is melodious, even if all the inflections aren’t perfect. But if, like the Lion King’s Broadway adaption, this remake features human actors in costumes, I’m just not sure if I’ll be feeling the love tonight.