Celebrated filmmaker Barry Jenkins has brought audiences such gorgeous, Black-led cinema as Medicine For Melancholy, Moonlight, and If Beale Street Could Talk. He is an Academy Award-winning screenwriter, a critic-adored director, and his next project is the newly announced “follow up” to Disney’s “live-action” Lion King, which Deadline reports may explore “Mufasa’s origin story.”
To say this was a surprising turn of events is an understatement. Jenkins has built his reputation on intimate indies, and now he’s being offered a big, fat franchise that’s been universally panned for its soullessness. Some fear this will be a waste of his talents. Others argue: don’t we want great filmmakers to get the big fat checks that studio hacks do? Don’t we want them to have the opportunity to bring their vision to the masses?
Put simply, Film Twitter was torn.
… what https://t.co/oij9dY6Sx9— Norm Wilner (@normwilner) September 29, 2020
Barry Jenkins? Lion King sequel?— Lisa Trifone (@LisaBeesa) September 29, 2020
I need a minute.
Look, I love/trust Barry! I hated the photorealistic animation! I’m confused!— Esther Zuckerman (@ezwrites) September 29, 2020
Conflicted…I'm happy that Barry and Lulu are going to get some of that Disney money but I also want more movies like Moonlight & If Beale Street Could Talk and less movies like The Lion King (2019)— Matt Neglia (@NextBestPicture) September 29, 2020
Some weren’t happy about the news.
The lion king (2019) is one of the most soulless cash grabs I’ve seen in a very long time.— i bet on losing dogs is the best mitski song (@haaniyah_) September 29, 2020
So I’m not surprised that they’re making a second but I am shocked at Barry Jenkins directing it.
Ah yes love to see our corporate overlords absorbing the most talented filmmakers of a new generation in order to make their IP more palatable to the artsy folks.— Beatrice Loayza (@bealoayza) September 29, 2020
Maybe I'm naive to believe in some happy medium between being a struggling artist and directing a project that will be entirely previsualized before you set foot on the green-screened soundstage.— A.A. Dowd (@AADowd) September 29, 2020
This is what you motherfuckers deserve for not going to see IF BEALE STREET COULD TALK https://t.co/ZcwbQA3Li5— Jason Bailey (@jasondashbailey) September 29, 2020
Others supported Jenkins’ choice.
Well Barry Jenkins has nowhere to go but up after the last Lion King— Kathia Woods (@kathia_woods) September 29, 2020
If this was ANY other directior I would be skeptical. But Barry J? Tuh. pic.twitter.com/FbBSSFEnYl— Erica Jordan (@TheNYCFilmChick) September 29, 2020
I mean, it’s kind of unsurprising Disney would greenlight something that would not require anyone to show up on a set and would likely make money.— Chris Feil (@chrisvfeil) September 29, 2020
you are all complaining as if you won't enjoy the next 10 Moonlights that disney money is going to finance. hell it'll finance the next 15.— dilara (@IngmarBoobman) September 29, 2020
The man has given you:— Robert Daniels (@812filmreviews) September 29, 2020
Medicine for Melancholy
If Beale Street Could Talk
And is soon to release Underground Railroad… And he doesn't have some latitude?
Maybe I can empathize bc I write about Black subject matter all the time, but Barry Jenkins has released the most emotionally taxing work on Black life in the history of cinema. Maybe he's taking THE LION KING because he wants to do something challenging but lighthearted.— Robert Daniels (@812filmreviews) September 29, 2020
If y’all can’t get excited about Barry Jenkins interpreting the Lion King, I pity you.— Franklin Leonard (@franklinleonard) September 29, 2020
"I LOVE Barry Jenkins and I am FURIOUS he's about to get a HUGE PAYCHECK!" - Film Twitter— Chris Evangelista 🎃 (@cevangelista413) September 29, 2020
Ummmm, Lulu just sent this to me and man… well played SA 🙌🏿— Barry Jenkins (@BarryJenkins) September 29, 2020
Not a sequel. Not a remake.
All love… https://t.co/JGJclpEVMh
This is what I think Barry Jenkins' Lion King is going to look like. pic.twitter.com/fBiO6LrnPu— Somebody's Assistant (@Stuckonthe5) September 29, 2020
What do you think about this Lion King not-a-sequel news?
Header Image Source: Getty