One of The Lion King‘s highlights is Timon and Pumbaa’s dynamic, but another pair steals some of the spotlight. Keegan-Michael Key and Eric Andrew play Kamari and Azizi, two hyenas who are very different from the ones audiences remember.
The Lion King still offers some of the signature comic relief that the hyena pack bring to Scar’s machinations. But his helpers are more sinister this time around. In fact, while Timon and Pumbaa exemplify friendship, Kamari and Azizi are more involuntarily stuck together.
“We’re in a very toxic relationship that we try to hide from our leader,” Key joked at the press conference for Disney’s newest movie. “It’s like she’s the boss and also our therapist.” Eric Andre joined in on the teasing. When asked how the two voice actors achieved their twisted synergy, he claimed, “We were pretty drunk the entire time.”
Jokes aside, though, the dysfunctional relationship between the two feels very unique to the latest rendition of The Lion King. As much as the hyenas feel “real pure animosity” for each other, it was only possible thanks to the welcoming environment on set. As Andre explained:
“[Keegan is] incredibly talented and really, really easy to work off of. And he is a selfless altruistic talent, which is rare. So I was in good hands. I was in great hands with Jon [Favreau], so I don’t know. It was just a very nurturing environment and made it very easy. Because I’m very, very sensitive, so the slightest wind of any kind will make me tear up.”
Comedic Genius on the Set of THE LION KING
Keegan-Michael Key also credited director Jon Favreau with the success of the hyenas in The Lion King’s new adaptation. Specifically, his knowledge of comedy which helped the duo craft their own brand.
“I think Jon is a great student, has an encyclopedic knowledge of all different types of comedy. And one of those pieces of knowledge is about comedic duos and the dynamic that exists between them. I know that when we had a very similar experience to Billy and Seth, where we were allowed to walk around the room. It was as if we were being directed in a scene of a play.”
Though they didn’t record every session together, the way Rogen and Eichner did, they became a real team. As aficionados of the genre, Key and Andre bantered with Favreau about inspiration while filming The Lion King. Key described a session as follows: “I would say to Jon, ‘We’re looking for Fibber McGee and Molly here or Abbott and Costello? What are you looking for?’ He goes, ‘I’m actually looking for a little bit of Laurel and Hardy with an explosion at the end, but then back it up into little Apatowian for me.’”
Let’s not forget the “sprinkle of Beavis and Butthead” that Andre was sure to add. “Just a soupçon.” Let us know your favorite hyena moment after The Lion King premieres on July 18th. And check back with That Hashtag Show for the latest news on your favorite films.