JD McCrary on Working With Beyonce, Donald Glover in 'The Lion King'

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He just can’t wait to be king! Twelve-year-old JD McCrary, who voices Young Simba in The Lion King reboot sat down with Us Weekly on Thursday, July 25, to dish on what it was like to work with Beyonce and Donald Glover.

“It was amazing finding out when I got the role because it is such an honor just to be part of a Disney movie at all,” he admitted. “But being part of one of my favorites, The Lion King, and playing young Simba in the movie is a huge blessing. When I found out I was just so surprised.”

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After the initial shock sunk in, he realized that him and Young Simba have many similarities. “My favorite part about playing young Simba was just being able to be myself during the movie. … I didn’t have to change my voice because my voice is naturally that high and I can really relate to Simba, so I didn’t really have to act too much because I look up to my dad just like he does and we both have scary uncles,” McCrary joked.

JD McCrary Lion King Premiere
JD McCrary attends the World Premiere of Disney’s “THE LION KING” at the Dolby Theatre on July 09, 2019 in Hollywood, California. Jesse Grant/Getty Images for Disney

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Although the actor says The Lion King has always been one of his favorite movies, he hasn’t gotten the chance to speak to Jonathan Taylor Thomas, who voiced the role of Young Simba in the original 1994 movie just yet. “I have never actually talked to him, but hopefully in the future I will,” he said.

Some celebrities he has met include Beyonce and Glover. “Being part of such a huge movie with such huge stars is really a blessing. It’s really amazing being able to say that I’ve worked with Beyonce at 12 years old. … I was a little bit star struck when I first met her and a little bit nervous,” he admitted.

Lion King Cast
The cast of ‘The Lion King’ (L-R) Billy Eichner (Timon), Shahadi Wright Joseph (Young Nala), JD McCrary (Young SImba), Seth Rogen (Pumbaa), Florence Kasumba (Shenzi), Donald Glover (Simba), Beyoncé Knowles-Carter (Nala), Alfre Woodard (Sarabi), Chiwetel Ejiofor (Scar), John Oliver (Zazu), Keegan-Michael Key (Kamari) and Eric André (Azizi). Kwaku Alston

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While Queen Bey hasn’t offered McCrary any career advice yet, he hopes she will someday. In the meantime, Glover has given him guidance. “Donald Glover told me to stay true to myself and be natural during recording, and even when you’re playing someone else, remember to put your own spice on it.”

As for what he anticipates viewers will love about the film? “I hope people can take away all of The Lion King’s morals and what it really means. It’s a movie about family and it’s a movie about remembering who you are,” he shared.