“I don’t traffic in any of those things,” the Oscar nominee, 67, told Us Weekly exclusively at the 29th annual IFP Gotham Awards sponsored by Fiji at Cipriani Wall Street in New York City on Monday, December 2. “I didn’t even read reviews. Don’t tell anybody. It’s like, you do your work and you go on and that’s it.”
The legendary singer, 72, made headlines in October when he called the Jon Favreau-directed photorealistic remake “a huge disappointment.”
“I believe they messed the music up,” he told GQ U.K. at the time. “Music was so much a part of the original and the music in the current film didn’t have the same impact. The magic and joy were lost. The soundtrack hasn’t had nearly the same impact in the charts that it had 25 years ago, when it was the bestselling album of the year. The new soundtrack fell out of the charts so quickly, despite the massive box-office success.”
John continued, “I wish I’d been invited to the party more, but the creative vision for the film and its music was different this time around and I wasn’t really welcomed or treated with the same level of respect. That makes me extremely sad. I’m so happy that the right spirit for the music lives on with the Lion King stage musical.”
The pianist famously composed and sang several songs in the original 1994 animated Disney movie, including the Oscar-winning “Can You Feel the Love Tonight.” The 2019 soundtrack includes songs by Beyoncé, Donald Glover, Billy Eichner and Seth Rogen.
Despite John’s criticism, Woodard told Us on Monday that she thinks Beyoncé, 38, is “a brilliant performer,” adding, “Sometimes people can be good and even really wonderful and great, but there’s times when there’s people that nobody is like them or has been or can be like them, and we cherish them.”
The 2019 remake of The Lion King became the hugest-grossing animated film of all time, surpassing Frozen. Woodard voiced Sarabi, the wife of Mufasa (James Earl Jones) and mother of Simba (Glover).
With reporting by Marc Lupo
For access to all our exclusive celebrity videos and interviews – Subscribe on YouTube!