Here’s what Nathan Lane thinks of Billy Eichner following in his footsteps

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Nathan Lane at the Tony Awards. | Photo: IMDB/CBS

What happens when one gay actor is replaced with another for the same role? Well, Nathan Lane has some words about that.

The legend dropped by The Late Show with Stephen Colbert and discussed Disney’s upcoming live-action Lion King remake.

In the original 1994 animated film, Lane lent his voice to the meerkat Timon.

For the remake, comedian Billy Eichner is taking on the role.

After Colbert confuses whether Lane played Timon or Pumbaa a few times, they dive into it.

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‘How dare you!’

Colbert asks if Lane was upset about being replaced, Lane gets into a story about finding out.

‘So I get an email from Billy Eichner,’ he begins. ‘Very sweet. He writes this lovely email, saying he’s going to be doing it and he wanted to let me know. He was very, very complimentary and lovely, very unlike Billy Eichner. And I was very touched.

‘So this is what I wrote back to Billy: “How dare you! What’s next, you and Ryan Gosling in The Birdcage? I’d name another of my successful films but I don’t have one. Billy, when this was first announced, I thought this just goes to show the old show business adage: Everyone is replaceable except James Earl Jones. Hakuna f**king matata.”‘

However, it didn’t end there.

Lane continues: ‘Now that gay rights have come so far, in this version, Tim can finally marry Pumbaa and live openly in the Serengeti. Believe me, once you have warthog, you never go back.’

For his part, Eichner was honored.

He recalled how he saw Lane on Broadway in Guys & Dolls.

‘He’s been on the top of my list of actors I admire ever since. As I said in my email to him, its [sic] an honor to walk briefly in his footsteps.’

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