Jason Weaver has had a great 2019 thanks to Disney giving us a new version of The Lion King. But there are a lot more gems in Weavers’ resume, and he told us some of the backstory behind some of his roles in Shadow And Act’s latest Reel It Back.
Weaver’s role as a young Michael Jackson in The Jacksons: An American Dream is what earned him a spot in The Lion King as young Simba’s singing voice, as he also said in our exclusive interview. As you’ll hear below, Weaver talked about how he had to spring into action while performing as young Michael.
“I was a little bit fatigued, I was a little bit tired,” he said. “But when I got on that stage and when they said ‘action’ and when all the lights and everything, something inside of me just woke up and it clicked.”
“It was one of these days that Sir Elton John came to the set while we were doing ‘Who’s Lovin’ You’ and this is how I got recruited to do The Lion King,” he continued.
The Lion King, he said, was a film he almost didn’t do.
“Y’all wouldn’t believe this–I almost turned this s**t down,” he said, before citing a conversation his mother had with him.
“I was a kid and I remember when my mom came to me and said ‘You know, I talked to Elton John today.’ So I’m like, ‘Okay, cool.’…I said ‘Nah, mom, tell him I ain’t gonna do it,'” he said. “She said, ‘Jason let me tell you something. That’ll be the biggest mistake you ever made in your life. If you don’t take this role, and if you don’t accept this blessing that’s coming into your life, man, you’re gonna regret it.'” So we have Weaver’s mom to thank for Weaver finally securing the role.
Weaver’s role on Smart Guy gave him a chance to work not only with Omar Gooding, Essence Atkins and Tahj Mowry, but also Destiny’s Child.
“They [Destiny’s Child] were the bomb. They were an absolute pleasure to work with,” he said. “Like every other young brother, I was in love with Beyoncé and Kelly.”
“They probably thought, while they were working with me, that I might have been a little standoff-ish, because I was so nervous,” he continued.
Weaver said he still keeps in contact with his castmates “to this day,” adding that “[e]very last one of those people that I was working with…became like family.” Smart Guy, he said, was “probably one of the most fun experiences I’ve had, as an actor.”
Weaver’s role in Disney movie Summertime Switch was ahead of its time. Weaver only discovered how meaningful his role was as he got older.
“At the time when I was shooting it, I didn’t recognize the social and cultural significance of it and the message that we were putting forth,” he said. “Now that film in its own way is even more relevant than it was back then. …It shows this kid who has so much potential and was about to get written off, and when given an opportunity to show who he really was, he rose to that level and excelled even higher and past his own expectations.”
Watch the entire video below.