Oscar-winning filmmaker Barry Jenkins will be entering the realm of Disney blockbusters.
The Moonlight and If Beale Street Could Talk director has been chosen to helm Disney’s follow-up to The Lion King, the 2019 CG redo that grossed the studio a whopping $US1.65 billion at the worldwide box office.
Deadline broke the news of Jenkins’ hiring, reporting that he’ll be working with a screenplay from Jeff Nathanson, who penned the first film. A first draft has already been handed in.
The film will be a prequel, Deadline suggesting that “the story will further explore the mythology of the characters, including Mufasa’s origin story.” This is, of course, a different trajectory to the animated films; 1998’s direct-to-video The Lion King 2: Simba’s Pride was a sequel, the plot focusing on Simba and Nala’s daughter Kiara, who falls in love with a male rogue lion from a pride once loyal to Scar.
Said Jenkins in a statement:
“Helping my sister raise two young boys during the ’90s, I grew up with these characters. Having the opportunity to work with Disney on expanding this magnificent tale of friendship, love and legacy while furthering my work chronicling the lives and souls of folk within the African diaspora is a dream come true.”
The still-untitled film will reportedly again be crafted using the photo-real tech that director Jon Favreau employed for Disney remakes The Lion King and The Jungle Book. Still no word on when production will begin.
Before we see what Jenkins delivers with this Disney prequel, we’ll be seeing his first television project. Jenkins has directed all 11 episodes of upcoming Amazon limited series Underground Railroad, a slave-era drama based on Colson Whitehead’s award-winning book.