Inside 'The Lion King,' the making of the groundbreaking new movie

Filmmakers and stars from the 1994 film, musical and new movie, from BeyoncÃ(c), to Donald Glover to Jon Favreau, discuss how the story came to be the global phenomenon it is today.
7:00 | 07/17/19

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Transcript for Inside 'The Lion King,' the making of the groundbreaking new movie
buzz with the bey live. Reporter: People really, really love "The lion king." They do the simba thing at sporting events. Raise those beautiful babies in the air. Hakuna matata. Reporter: Hundreds of millions of people have seen and come under the spell of "The lion king." I spell like hakuna matata. These songs still come up. You hear that. It means no worries when I was in school, I don't remember anyone ever using the phrase "No worries", and you hear it every day. Reporter: And now, a new generation of fans is being introduced to "The lion king." Director Jon Favreau gave me an exclusive sneak behind the scenes. It's the same story fans have loved for 25 years, but Favreau has used virtual reality to give it a whole new look, taking it to the next technical level. Can you explain to people? It's hard. It's never been done before. It's a mixture of technologies. We knew we had to make it feel like a live action film as much as possible. But there's nothing real in the movie, no real animals, no real sets. No motion capture. Nothing. Just pixels. Reporter: Those pixels look just like animals to me. Jon showed me part of the movie and I couldn't tell the difference. Rises and falls like the sun. I just thought it was completely remarkable and just pushing the envelope in an extraordinary way. This is wildly complicated. I could explain it. I can describe it, I can't explain it. I have no idea. What technology? She's talking about the cameras? At one point they put some sort of virtual reality helmet on me. I still don't know why. At one point. I still don't get it. Disney has your brain now. Exactly. Reporter: To keep the human touch, the photography wasn't computerized. The cameraman operated a real camera, linked to the virtual rye at program. Lion, lion, lion! I wanted to make the naturalism not be just in the technology and rendering but also in the performance. Hakuna matata! Most people get a bigger reaction. I wanted the overlaps, I wanted the conversation. I wanted people to try things. You must take your place in the circle of life. Reporter: Let's talk about the cast. James Earl Jones. Who else could play mufasa? One day it will be my son who rules. When I worked with him I said do you have any direction? I didn't know what to say. I was like, no, just say it. Even you just talking to me about it sounds like mufasa. The king's time as ruler rises and falls like the sun. Reporter: The rest of the cast is new, and it's stellar. A host of award-winning, dramatic and comedic actors. When I was a young -- Reporter: Now did you envision when you're talking about the warthog Seth rogen? Yeah, that was a pretty easy one. That wasn't a hard piece of casting to do. His voice is great. A real laugh from him sounds even better than a stage laugh. Reporter: And in a cast and crew that created buzz in the bey hive and on social media worldwide, nala is the one and only Beyonce. Simba. You have to take your place as king. Can you feel the love tonight It was important to the director that nala had met the females in this film who are heroes, and he put nala right alongside simba in the big fight. And I thought that was really interesting and very real. Because the women are, you know, we're the fighters. Everything you see exists together in a delicate balance. Reporter: Making the lion king for a new generation of viewers poses a particular challenge. The hard part about "The lion king" is that everybody knows it, and people love it. How much do you honor it? How much do you stray from it? How much do you give people exactly what they're expecting and how much do you subvert those expectations. That is the biggest challenge. Reporter: What is the process of going, okay, there's some scenes that you shouldn't touch. And there's others that you are like hey, I could do something different here. There's a process I use. I make a list of everything I remember about it without looking at it. What are the things I think are important, what are the moments I think I have to hit? So we had to hit those moments and take it a step further, breathing more reality into it and still honoring the fable and fairy tale that is at its core. Reporter: From the joyful exuberance of childhood to the lessons of maturity. If you look beyond the adventure and sentiment, the lion king is a story about life. As I get older, as my kids grow up you realize the job of a storyteller is to prepare them for what life has coming. And not everything's pleasant, but there is a way, if you show up to it in the right way, with the right support it's still, it's still a happy movie. Reporter: It happy movie. And there's no better example of that feeling than hakuna matata, an anthem of happiness, embraced around the world. Hakuna matata! Hakuna matata hakuna matata hakuna matata Slimy, but satisfying. Can't wait. "The lion king" is in theaters Friday. And full disclosure, Disney is the parent company of ABC news.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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