A prequel to “The Lion King” is in development at Disney Studios with Oscar winner Barry Jenkins attached to direct the new project. According to Deadline, Jeff Nathanson, who worked on the Jon Favreau-directed film last year, has penned a draft of the prequel.
“The Lion King”, a remake of the 1994 animated classic, used innovative techniques to create photorealistic animals and African landscapes. Voice starring Donald Glover as Simba and Beyonce as Nala, the film became a massive hit for the studio. The logline is being kept under wraps, but it is expected that the film will further explore the mythology of the characters, including Mufasa’s origin story.
Veteran actor James Earl Jones lent his voice to Mufasa, Simba’s father, for both the 1994 and 2019 versions. Jenkins, who is also planning to work with Disney on a biopic of famed choreographer Alvin Ailey for Searchlight, said he is looking forward to “The Lion King” prequel. “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 director of “Moonlight” and “If Beale Street Could Talk” said.
Jenkins has completed for Amazon a limited series “The Underground Railroad”. He has also penned a drama based on the first American female Olympic boxing champ, Clarissa ‘T-Rex’ Shields, and an adaptation of Netflix documentary Virunga, about the battle to save the Congo’s mountain gorilla population.