John Oliver's bombshell isn't actually that surprising.

By Christopher Luu
Jul 22, 2019 @ 9:45 pm

Disney's Lion King remake isn't short on star power. The big names didn't just impress theater-goers, however, the film's voice actors were just as blown away by the sheer magnitude of the names in the cast. Entertainment Tonight reports that John Oliver, who voiced Zazu the hornbill, was taken aback during the cast's photocall, even though the reason for his shock wasn't actually there. He explained that in the now-famous cast photo, which features Beyoncé and everyone else, Beyoncé wasn't even there. It was all the work of Photoshop, but that fact didn't keep him from getting nervous about being in the presence of Queen B.

He explained that the cast gathered together, minus Beyoncé, and took their places. But as soon as he realized that she'd be put into the photo, he got super-nervous. The only thing that was there was a piece of tape with her name on it. Presumably, it's where she would have been and where she ended up after Disney magic and digital photo manipulation.

Gareth Cattermole/Getty Images

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"Yeah, she wasn't there," Oliver said during an appearance on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert. "I can't remember, I think almost everyone else was there. I remember Chiwetel [Ejiofor], we were setting up the shot and Chiwetel was sitting up in the front and he said, 'You need to be careful where your foot is.' And I looked down, and there was just this piece of tape on the floor with Beyoncé's name written on it. I literally, it was like an electrical reaction, I went 'Oh fuck!'' [jumps out of his chair] Just the future presence of Beyoncé was so intimidating."

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He notes that the emotions are clear on his face. The simple idea of being in the same room as Beyoncé, real or not, was enough to make him seize up.

"If you look at my face in there, I look really intimidated," he said. "And that's because what I'm doing is imagining that I am about to be put into a photo with Beyoncé, and that was nerve-racking enough."

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Since the film only involved the actors' voices, Oliver never actually got to meet Beyoncé, who plays adult Nala in the film. And it seems that he didn't get to meet her for the now-famous pic, either. Better luck next time, John. We all know how tough it is to get some face time with the queen.

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