Nathan Lane Reveals ‘Can You Feel The Love Tonight’ Was Originally For Timon And Pumbaa, Leaving Elton John Mortified

Nathan Lane, the celebrated star of the iconic film ‘The Lion King,’ has revealed a fascinating behind-the-scenes detail about one of the movie’s most beloved songs, ‘Can You Feel the Love Tonight’. In a recent interview, Lane disclosed that the legendary Elton John, the composer of the film’s acclaimed soundtrack, made a last-minute change to the song’s vocal arrangements, altering the original plan for the comedic duo, Timon and Pumbaa, to perform the entire love ballad.

Initially, the plan was for Timon and Pumbaa, the wisecracking meerkat and warthog, to lend their distinct voices to the entirety of ‘Can You Feel the Love Tonight’. However, as Lane recounted, Elton John had a change of heart, expressing his desire for a more serious and romantic tone befitting the song’s theme of blossoming love between the protagonists, Simba and Nala.

Also Read: North West, Daughter of Kim Kardashian And Kanye West, to Perform at ‘Lion King’ Concert

Can You Feel The Love Tonight
Image Courtesy: Deadline

Lane candidly revealed that early versions of the 1994 animated classic featured Timon and Pumbaa recording the complete song in their respective character voices. However, Elton John’s creative vision ultimately prevailed, as he felt that having the lovable but comical pair sing the entire love song would undermine its emotional resonance.

In addition to this intriguing revelation, Lane also shed light on another scrapped musical number from the film’s original plans. Originally, Timon and Pumbaa were slated to perform a song titled ‘The Warthog Rhapsody’, but this idea was ultimately replaced by the now-iconic ‘Hakuna Matata’, a decision that Lane humorously acknowledged as a wise choice.

Lane’s insights also unveiled the serendipitous origins of Timon and Pumbaa themselves. Initially, the duo auditioned for the roles of the hyenas, but their vocal talents and comedic energy impressed the producers so profoundly that two entirely new characters were conceived to capitalise on their unique abilities.

As the Lion King saga prepares to welcome a new entry, ‘Mufasa: The Lion King’, a prequel and sequel to the live-action remake, Lane and his co-star Ernie Sabella will once again bring their beloved characters to life in Disney’s ‘The Lion King’ 30th Anniversary – A Live-to-Film Concert Event at the Hollywood Bowl.

-Sushmita Sarkar