Mufasa: The Lion King

Mufasa Director Barry Jenkins Defends Movie: ‘There Is Nothing Soulless About The Lion King’

Barry Jenkins is defending his decision to direct Disney’s Mufasa: The Lion King.

On April 29, Jenkins, known for helming 2016’s Moonlight and 2018’s If Beale Street Could Talk, shared the first trailer for Mufasa: The Lion King, which he directed, on X.

In the comments, one user replied to Jenkins’ post, “Barry, You’re too good and talented for this [Bob] Iger’s soulless machine.”

Jenkins then defended his decision to make the movie, saying, “There is nothing soulless about The Lion King. For decades children have sat in theaters all over the world experiencing collective grief for the first time, engaging Shakespeare for the first time, across aisles in myriad languages. A most potent vessel for communal empathy.”

Jenkins also addressed recent concerns that he might “lose his voice in the franchise machine” when speaking with Empire Magazine about the upcoming film. “When you step into a world that already exists, it can be easy to assume that freedom is denied,” he said. “I think, instead, you have to just work to create freedom, and I think that was what this process was. A friend once said to me, ‘You’ve done the thing you set out to do when, 10 years on, you could put the film up on the wall and point to it and go, ‘There, that’s where I am.’’”

What is Mufasa: The Lion King about?

“Mufasa: The Lion King enlists Rafiki to relay the legend of Mufasa to young lion cub Kiara, daughter of Simba and Nala, with Timon and Pumbaa lending their signature schtick. Told in flashbacks, the story introduces Mufasa as an orphaned cub, lost and alone until he meets a sympathetic lion named Taka—the heir to a royal bloodline,” the synopsis reads. The chance meeting sets in motion an expansive journey of an extraordinary group of misfits searching for their destiny—their bonds will be tested as they work together to evade a threatening and deadly foe.”

The voice cast for Mufasa: The Lion King includes Aaron Pierre as Mufasa, Kelvin Harrison Jr. as Taka, Tiffany Boone as Sarabi, Kagiso Lediga as Young Rafiki, Preston Nyman as Zazu, Mads Mikkelsen as Kiros, Thandiwe Newton as Eshe, Lennie James as Obasi, Anika Noni Rose as Afia, Keith David as Masego, John Kani as Rafiki, Seth Rogen as Pumbaa, Billy Eichner as Timon, Donald Glover as Simba, Beyoncé Knowles-Carter as Nala, and Blue Ivy Carter as Kiara.

Mufasa: The Lion King releases in United States theaters on December 20, 2024.

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