'I Kept Doing It': Nathan Lane And Ernie Sabella Shares Story Behind Pumbaa's 'Flatulent Noises' In The Lion King

Nathan Lane and Ernie Sabella initially auditioned for some other characters, but the makers felt that they would be perfect as Timon and Pumbaa—the characters were still in making.

Updated on Jun 09, 2024  |  11:11 AM IST |  40.2K
 Nathan Lane & Ernie Sabella's Story Behind Pumbaa's 'Flatulent Noises' In The Lion King
Nathan Lane Shares Story Behind Pumbaa's 'Flatulent Noises' In The Lion King (PC: Imdb)

Step into the world of The Lion King, where the animals talk, sing and make us laugh. Back in the 1990s, Nathan Lane and Ernie Sabella recorded their lines for Disney’s The Lion King. Little did they know that were bringing Pumbaa the warthog to life.

Moreover, Pumbaa’s unforgettable flatulent noises. Nathan Lane and Ernie Sabella spilled the beans on how they came about. As we celebrate 30 years of The Lion King, let’s find out how Pumbaa’s funny noises became a huge part of the movie.

The amusing story behind Pumbaa’s flatulence

In 1994, Natahn Lane, aged 68, and Ernie Sabella, aged 74, lent their voices to two beloved characters. Lane played the witty meerkat, Timon, while Sabella played Pumbaa. In an interview with Entertainment Weekly, they revealed the amusing backstory behind Pumbaa’s iconic flatulence.

Do you know, that Pumbaa’s flautance noise wasn’t originally scripted? Yes, it all began in their recording sessions, which coincided with their work on the Broadway revival of Guys and Dolls in 1992. During the morning recording sessions, when they were a bit sleepy, Sabella would lighten up everybody’s mood. How? By making funny farting noises.

“While he was doing his dialogue, he would make fart sounds to make me laugh,” Lane said. Sabella claimed that he made these noises to entertain Lane. This made him laugh, even though he kept asking Ernie to stop. “I just started making these sounds as he was reading his lines. He kept laughing and telling me to stop. But I kept doing it,” Sabella recalled.


ALSO READ: 'Elton John Was Mortified': Nathan Lane Reveals The Lion King's Can You Feel the Love Tonight Was Originally Meant For Timon And Pumbaa

Timon and Pumbaa were created just for Lane and Sabella

Surprisingly, Nathan and Ernie weren’t first picked to play Timon and Pumbaa. They auditioned together, and while doing that they even improvised a bit, showing their chemistry and wonderful timing. Disney saw how well they worked together during auditions and thought, “These guys are just perfect for Timon and Pumba!!” They auditioned for some other roles but the makers considered them perfect for Timon and Pumbaa. At that time Timon and Pumbaa’s were still in making.

So they created these characters according to the duo. During their recording sessions, Ernie Sabella and Nathan Lane used to make the studio ring with laughter.

Additionally, Lane and Sabella made history by being the first duo to record all their lines together for a Disney film. Their natural comedic timing brought Timon and Pumbaa to life, making them beloved by audiences worldwide.


The Lion King (PC: Imdb)

ALSO READ: Top 7 facts about The Lion King: Things you didn't know about the Disney movie

Celebrating 3 decades of The Lion King

The Lion King marks its 30th anniversary in June this year. In this animated masterpiece, Simba navigates the challenges of life in the African savanna after the tragic death of his father, Mufasa. This June marks 30 years since The Lion King first hit theaters. This animated movie quickly became a favorite among Disney fans and has remained popular ever since.

Its popularity led to sequels, a Broadway show, a TV series, and even a live-action remake.

The Lion King is currently streaming on Disney+.

ALSO READ: Mufasa The Lion King Trailer: Beyonce and Blue Ivy Give Voice To Important Characters In Goosebump-Inducing Glimpses; See Here

How did Pumbaa’s flatulent noises come about?
Pumbaa's flatulent noises were inspired by Ernie Sabella making funny sounds during recording sessions to entertain Nathan Lane, leading to them becoming part of Pumbaa's character.

What roles did Nathan Lane and Ernie Sabella originally audition for in The Lion King?
They initially auditioned for the roles of the hyenas but were later chosen to voice Timon and Pumbaa.

They initially auditioned for the roles of the hyenas but were later chosen to voice Timon and Pumbaa.
The Lion King has been popular since its release in 1994 and continues to be beloved, celebrating its 30th anniversary this year.

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