And, unlike the rest of us, he has a much better chance at it actually happening.
The 11-year-old actor plays young Simba in the reimagining, singing alongside Shahadi Wright Joseph (young Nala), John Oliver (Zazu), Seth Rogen and Billy Eichner (Pumbaa and Timon). The movie also reunites him with Donald Glover, who he collaborated with on Childish Gambino's "Terrified."
When asked who his "dream collaborator" would be in the future, the answer was simple: "Beyonce." Speaking with TooFab, he said, "I should've talked to her about it. Ya know what? Yup, yeah, I should've done that."
McCary was riding high from the movie's big Los Angeles premiere when we caught up with him, after he had a seriously good time backstage with the impressive cast.
"Being at the premiere was like the coolest thing ever," he explained. "Being backstage and seeing all the crowd was cool. But being backstage was even better because Chance the Rapper was there. He knew me. I said, 'What's up,' to him. His daughter, Blue Ivy, Jay-Z, Beyonce, they were all just chilling there. I could talk to them. I was talking to them. It was cool. It was like a really dope moment, but being at the premiere as a whole was something that I was waiting for, for so long and it felt right."
With the movie's release (and his 12th birthday) just days away, McCrary is hoping "The Lion King" has legs when it comes to award season, too. In addition to hoping he'll win a Grammy some day, he mused, "I think I might win an Oscar for this, if that's possible for 'The Lion King,' hopefully. That would be cool. I'd like to win an award."
Keep reading for more from our Q&A with the young star. "The Lion King" roars into theaters Friday, July 19.
For someone who was born in 2007 -- you turn twelve this week -- has 'The Lion King' always been something that was some part of your childhood?
Well, I’m still going through my childhood. Bit it's always been a pretty huge part of it. It's one of the most iconic Disney movies, and everyone knows about it. It's always been one of my favorites. I know that I did watch it. I don't remember the year. I don't know how old I was, but I do know watching it with my dad probably, and just love at first sight.
What was the audition process like for you?
It was probably different than everyone else's because I was in Atlanta, and I had to do a self-tape. And I did the self-tape, I got a call back. I did another call back there, then I flew out to LA to meet the executive producers and everybody really and did another audition there. Then a week later I got the call, and I was Simba of The Lion King.
How do you get into that mind space as future king, young lion?
Simba's kind of just like me. I wasn't really thinking too much about it. I knew that he's a lion, he's trying to be brave. He's tryna really kind of show out, and so I had to pretty much act it out. We were in a black box theatre and we could walk around, we could move around, we could talk to each other. It was like the coolest thing ever, and so I could really feel it out, and act it out.
When you're doing these iconic songs -- 'Hakuna Matata,' 'Can't Wait to be King' -- are their nerves attached with that?
Not much. I'm not too scared about what I did. I'm not really nervous, I just know whatever I’ve done -- even if it's not the greatest that I think it is -- I'm sure I'll be fine because I know God has his hand over me and I'll just be, I'll be alright.
How was it finally seeing the finished project at the premiere?
It was really cool. It's something that I've been waiting for, for years. And now the day has come, and I've seen it and it was everything that I dreamed it'd be.
Was there anything that surprised you when you saw it, maybe something you didn't realize how it would look while you were filming?
So the scene where Simba and Nala are running from the hyenas and they're going through these tunnels, I saw that one early and I was like, 'Wow this movie is going to look super cool.' I was at the studio at the time and I had watched it, and only like half of it was fully done, and the rest was like sketches. So seeing it was amazing.
When you were doing the recordings, did you work with any of the other actors in the studio?
Yes! We worked with everybody. It wasn't any one-sided type of thing, where you're recording it and the other person that you're talking to isn’t there. You were there with everybody. If I was in a scene with Nala I would be there with Nala, and I'd be walking around talking to her. If I was in a scene with Pumbaa and Timon, I would be walking around and talking to them. Everyone was with each other.
You've worked with Donald Glover (aka Childish Gambino) multiple times now. Has he ever given you any career advice?
He didn't give me any advice, but he's told me some things for motivation. He's told me some things like just be yourself. Don't let being Simba overwhelm you. Don't let it be nerve-racking to you.
Your birthday is the same weekend the movie opens. How are you gonna be celebrating? What are you planning on doing?
Nothing. I'm just going to be working on my birthday, but I'm not going to be doing anything. People will probably give me gifts. I'm going to hang out with my family. I'm not going to have a birthday party on my birthday. It's probably going to be after like maybe the 22nd, and we're going to go paint-balling, and it's going to be awesome. I'm about to wash all these kids."
Are we going to see you sneaking into any showing of this movie next weekend?
Yeah, I'm probably going to put a hat on, some glasses, fake mustache, walk around like, 'Oh hey,' I'll put on my deep voice. [Deepens voice] 'Oh, hey, how's the movie. It was good? Oh yeah, yes, such an amazing movie yo.' Dang ma, that deep voice worked.