The Lion King Star Chiwetel Ejiofor Shares How His Version Of Scar Is More 'Brutalized'

Scar (Chiwetel Ejiofor) is about to declare that shiny new era that’s been tiptoeing nearer. (Photo: Disney, Entertainment Weekly)

We may not be prepared for Scar this time around.

Entertainment Weekly has published a set visit and new photos from Jon Favreau’s remake of Disney’s The Lion King — and we’re getting a closer look at this new version of Scar, the villainous brother to King Mufasa.

According to actor Chiwetel Ejiofor (Doctor Strange, Serenity), Scar isn’t a cool and collected British lion with an angry streak. He’s more of a powder keg ready to explode.

In the interview, Ejiofor remarked on how his version of Scar is more “psychologically possessed” and “brutalised” than the one played by Jeremy Irons in the 1994 animated film. The original Scar, whose treacherous character mirrors Claudius in Shakespeare’s Hamlet, tended to give off an air of strength and confidence — though there was a violent temperament stirring underneath. But this time around, Ejiofor indicates that his version of Scar is more openly obsessive, frustrated, and enraged.

“There’s something quite interesting in knowing that you’re always holding a lethal capacity,” he said. “At the end of it, you’re playing somebody who has the capacity to turn everything on its head in a split second with outrageous acts of violence.”

Ejiofor also commented on how important it is that this version has largely cast actors of colour. The original film had white actors like Irons, Matthew Broderick, and Moira Kelly taking on the roles of African characters, which has been criticised.

This was something that was addressed in the Broadway version (though that too has received some feedback), and Ejiofor noted how important it is that the remake did the same thing.

The Lion King is a wonderful opportunity to bring in a cast of black actors to play these extraordinary iconic roles,” Ejiofor said. “Obviously I feel very connected to anything African, because of my heritage, and that’s why it’s a very special experience to me.”

Shahadi Wright Joseph (Us), who plays young Nala, agreed, sharing her own personal story of how she identified with the character growing up: “Representation is really important because you have all of these amazing characters inspiring little black girls and black boys. I [know] Nala inspires little girls, because that happened to me when I was younger. I literally said that I wanted to be her.”

The Lion King comes out July 17.

You can read more about Entertainment Weekly’s set visit, and see a few new images, here.

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