Yep, Timon Has a “Gay Sensibility” in the “Lion King” Remake

Billy Eichner explains how his vocal performance pays tribute to Nathan Lane.

Woof! Or, you know, whatever meerkats say.

If you’ve already seen Disney’s new live-action/CGI remake of The Lion King, you may have felt a certain kinship with Timon, the wisecracking meerkat voiced by Emmy-nominated Billy on the Street star Billy Eichner. Broadway icon Nathan Lane famously voiced Timon in the original 1994 animated blockbuster.

“I’m glad that [director] Jon Favreau kept the tradition of Timon being played by a gay actor, with a certain type of comedic sensibility, alive,” Eichner recently told Buzzfeed News.

“I didn’t think about him being gay so much as I thought, Well, I’m gay, and I have what some may consider a gay sensibility, and I’m going to bring that to the table, just the way that Nathan did,” the American Horror Story alum added. “I’m certainly not going to shy away from it. In fact, I lean into it more in my performances than I even do in my everyday life.”

“People are always trying to find the gay character in animated movies,” Eichner continued, referencing gay-coded characters like Scar in the original Lion King. “I think the way to correct that is to actually put gay characters in animated movies. I’m actually in the very early days of working on a project like that. One of the last frontiers for LGBT representation is animated family films.”

“I would love to see a world where we don’t have to argue about, you know, whether what’s his name in Beauty and the Beast is gay or not. I don’t want it to be subtle or a question mark. It just should be gay,” declared the Pete Buttigieg supporter, who is writing and starring in a gay rom-com for Universal.

“I’m not saying that character’s gay, but in the new movies that are made, there should just be existing openly LGBT characters so that we don’t have to keep arguing about Bert and Ernie. I don’t care if Bert and Ernie are gay. I want to see actual gay people that are not a mystery.”

Despite Timon’s gay sensibility, don’t be too quick to romantically pair him with pal Pumbaa, the warthog voiced by Seth Rogen in the remake.

“I mean, he’s a cartoon meerkat,” Eichner said. “I’m not even sure how old he’s supposed to be. Timon and Pumbaa are different species—I don’t even think that’s ethically correct, you know, that they would be a couple in some way.”

Lane memorably joked about Eichner following in his meerkat paw-steps last year on The Late Show With Stephen Colbert: “Hakuna fuckin’ matata. However, now that gay rights have come so far, in this version Timon can finally marry Pumbaa and live openly in the Serengeti. Believe me, once you’ve had warthog, you never go back.”

Celebrity interviewer. Foodie and Broadway buff in Manhattan. Hates writing bios.
@brandonvoss