This is a call to the East Coasters of Ngāti Kahungunu with the biggest and most hysterical laughter. Have you ever considered playing the role of a hyena?
The first series of auditions for the reo Maori version of Disney’s The Lion King opened, and the producers have confirmed which dialects they want for each character.
The hyenas spoke Ngāti Kahungunu reo, the lions were from Tainui, and Timon and Pumbaa were from Te Tai Tokerau.
Matewa Media was developing Lion King i te reo Māori, after having launched Moana Reo Maori in 2018. They were also working on Frozen, which is slated for release at the end of next year.
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Director Tweedie Waititi said developing the scripts in te reo was not as easy as creating literal rewrites.
“It’s not just about translating words, we’re translating the world. We thought a lot and wānanga in this kaupapa, ”she said.
In deciding which iwi should express different characters, the producers looked at the stories and background of each film.
Te Waipounamu iwi Ngāi Tahu was visibly absent from The Lion King casting, but Waititi said she was already talking to the southern iwi about Frozen.
“Our tikanga is to adapt it to the environment. For Moana, it wouldn’t have been fair to get an inland tribe to talk about the ocean – so we have coastal tribes, ”she said.
“We are in talks with some of the southern whānau about our vision of Frozen Reo Maori. They have this dialogue around snow and the environment.
Thursday Lion King The cast asked for singers and voice actors who spoke certain dialects, or mita, of te reo.
In addition to Tainui lions, Kahungunu hyenas, and Tai Tokerau meerkat, they were looking for a Taranaki mita for Zazu, and someone from Tūhoe to play the mystical mandrill, Rafiki.
Ngāti Kahungunu was chosen for hyenas thanks to script advisor Tātere Macleod, Waititi said.
“There’s no one else as funny as him who can read language the way he does.” So it’s fitting that he is performing these two characters, we’re not saying Kahungungu are like hyenas – they actually have our favorite lines.
Tainui would express the lions because they were Kīngitanga kaitiaki, she said. “The language of the throne makes sense to these characters. “
There are countless Maori dialects across New Zealand, each with minor differences and subtleties in the sound of the language.
The translations were carried out by te reo maori experts in each rohe.
Alongside Tweedie, co-director Chelsea Winstanley produced all three remakes of Disney in te reo.
“You don’t have to be a particular rohe to audition, just like Moana Reo Māori, we encourage everyone to give it a try, karawhiua!” said Winstanley
Actor Rachel House led the performance, with Rob Ruha as musical director.
Ruha said he was eager to hear anyone give it a try, with many roles – including some singers and others purely acting – up for grabs.
For his parents Te Whānau-à-Apanui and Ngāti Porou, he said they might need to try a few other dialects if they wanted to get along The Lion King – after having assumed “almost all the roles on Moana”.
“I encourage anyone to take out a few mitas for a spin and try to fit them into the greatness of Mufasa or the playfulness that is Zazu,” he said.
For the first round online, each character will have a different audition piece, and some will ask those who audition to sing in Maori te reo as well. Waititi and Winstanley have indicated that all proficiency levels are welcome.
The Lion King Reo Maori is slated for release in New Zealand and Australia in June 2022 to align with Matariki.
* Additional information and hearing material is available at matewamedia.nz. End of hearings on December 1, 2021.