Barry Jenkins Responds To The Perception That He "Sold Out" By Helming MUFASA: THE LION KING

Barry Jenkins Responds To The Perception That He "Sold Out" By Helming MUFASA: THE LION KING Barry Jenkins Responds To The Perception That He "Sold Out" By Helming MUFASA: THE LION KING

Moonlight director Barry Jenkins has hit back at the notion that he sold out by stepping into the blockbuster world to helm Disney's Mufasa: The Lion King...

By MarkCassidy - Apr 30, 2024 11:04 AM EST
Filed Under: Disney
Source: Via Toonado.com

The first trailer for Mufasa: The Lion King was released online yesterday, and when director Barry Jenkins took to social media to share the teaser, he opened himself up for quite a bit of criticism.

There seems to be a perception that Jenkins, who was nominated for an Academy Award for 2016's Best Picture winner Moonlight before going on to helm the critically-acclaimed If Beale Street Could Talk, has "sold out" by directing Disney's The Lion King prequel, which is seen by many as little more than a soulless cash-grab.

One response stated that Jenkins was "too good and talented for [Bob] Iger's soulless machine," while another - from someone who actually interviewed him when Moonlight premiered at TIFF - said the following:

"Come on man. I interviewed you when you premiered Moonlight at TIFF, and that Barry Jenkins wouldn’t have said what you just said. You can do a Disney movie for the check, in order to work on your passion projects at a later time, but you don’t have to shill like this."

Jenkins wasn't having any of it, and hit back with the following responses.

Jenkins also addressed the notion that stepping into the franchise machine might result in him "losing his voice" during an interview with Empire.

“When you step into a world that already exists, it can be easy to assume that freedom is denied. 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.’’

”This is one of those shots that belongs on the wall. I think the job was to consistently create scenarios amongst the characters where the actors would move in concert because they knew this is where Barry is, this is where we are.”

What do you make of the backlash Jenkins has received and the filmmaker's response? Drop us a comment down below.

Mufasa: The Lion King features Aaron Pierre as Mufasa, Kelvin Harrison Jr. as Taka, a lion prince with a bright future who accepts Mufasa into his family as a brother. Tiffany Boone as Sarabi, Kagiso Lediga as Young Rafiki, Preston Nyman as Zazu, Mads Mikkelsen as Kiros, a formidable lion with big plans for his pride. Thandiwe Newton as Taka’s mother, Eshe, Lennie James as Taka’s father, Obasi, Anika Noni Rose as Mufasa’s mother, Afia, Keith David as Mufasa’s father, Masego, John Kani as Rafiki, Seth Rogen as Pumbaa, Billy Eichner as Timon, Donald Glover as Simba, Beyoncé Knowles-Carter as Nala, and Introducing Blue Ivy Carter as Kiara, daughter of King Simba and Queen Nala.

“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 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."

Mufasa roars into theaters on December 20.

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Malatrova15
Malatrova15 - 4/30/2024, 11:40 AM
He sold out but kfc
CyberNigerian
CyberNigerian - 4/30/2024, 11:49 AM
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Vigor
Vigor - 4/30/2024, 11:40 AM
Some people have nothing going on in their lives. Honestly if you sit on Twitter and talk @ celebs for a response, you're probably bad at relationships, have bad breath, and I bet you're the reason the blocks fall when you play Jenga
PC04
PC04 - 4/30/2024, 11:47 AM
@Vigor - I love this comment. The Jenga thing is so funny!
FireandBlood
FireandBlood - 4/30/2024, 12:05 PM
@Vigor - “I bet you're the reason the blocks fall when you play Jenga”

😯 *adds to vocab*

You’ll catch me saying this all the time now
CoHost
CoHost - 4/30/2024, 7:57 PM
@Vigor - Jenkins isn't a celebrity.
TheVisionary25
TheVisionary25 - 4/30/2024, 11:44 AM
Contrary to popular belief , most if not all filmmakers genuinely do want to tell good stories…

I know it’s a hard concept to believe in todays EXTREMELY and somehow still increasingly cynical and skeptical society but it’s true and that applies to something like the Lion King aswell.

I understand it’s a business too and established IP in this day & age definitely can sell more then new & original material in the eyes of the exec but don’t blame the actual storytellers for that.
Matador
Matador - 4/30/2024, 11:51 AM
So rehash

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newhire13
newhire13 - 4/30/2024, 11:51 AM
Insulting as hell. Can’t he just make something he’s interested in making? Or is that not allowed?
TheVisionary25
TheVisionary25 - 4/30/2024, 11:53 AM
Speaking of Shakespeare…

I wonder what play of his will Mufasa will take inspiration from like Lion King took from Hamlet or Lion King 2:Simba’s Pride took from Romeo and Juliet?.

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Gambito
Gambito - 4/30/2024, 11:53 AM
No shame at all in taking a big fat Disney paycheck. The man ain’t gonna feed his kids with those Oscars
GhostDog
GhostDog - 4/30/2024, 11:54 AM
How does selling out effect this clown? People don't have infinite potential. There is only so much great art in someone. So what if they cash in on everything they have created not knowing when the well dries up.

People care way too much about what artists do in their free time and it's really weird. And if they merely want to get paid, good for them. You gotta work to live.
Matador
Matador - 4/30/2024, 12:00 PM
@GhostDog - While your right about it's not wrong in working for a paycheck currently Disney does not have a good record. Any project that comes out of Disney that fails will be blamed on the director. So he will also feel the backlash some will dust themselves off but you've seen how others have taken those criticisms.
Itwasme
Itwasme - 4/30/2024, 12:46 PM
@Matador - Disney's track record is actually very strong. Yes, for the first year they were not #1 at the gross BO, but Universal put out 24 movies vs Disney's 17. Given Universal only beat Disney by $80mm and you're talking well over $4bn in total BO for each, Disney is still sitting rather pretty and I'm not so sure Universal wouldn't swap with them in a heartbeat.
GhostDog
GhostDog - 4/30/2024, 2:02 PM
@Matador - you’re right and I think he has to reconcile with the consequences of the job like anyone else. You take the brunt of the burden for that check.

Yea it’s important to know how to take it and continue forward
Matador
Matador - 5/1/2024, 9:23 AM
@Itwasme - That's not 100% accurate that you need to take into account on other things Disney owns aside from movies declining there main attractions like there parks were a huge decline last year as well. Then consider there merchandising that took a hit too.

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When they spend money on a movie that's supposed to be a blockbuster they are also counting it to profit from any items connected to those movies.

Not to mention if something they thought would succeed it derails there future plans for whatever was supposed to be next. At this point even losing Disney + members is bad business. If you haven't been watching the news as of late they have fired almost 300,000 employees give or take and canceled future projects. That is not a successful company at the moment because that shows they don't trust their product.
Itwasme
Itwasme - 5/1/2024, 10:17 AM
@Matador - they are one of the best performing stocks in the world this year. Profits are up and gross revenues are up.

So if you want to look at the whole picture, without any sort of media bias, the company is performing incredibly well. Much to the chagrin of several online pundits.
Matador
Matador - 5/1/2024, 1:11 PM
@Itwasme - I check the stock on a daily basis there stock is a roller coaster and currently down at a negative. There stock used to be higher and now it's easily purchasable with no growth the highest growth they had at 9:30am was only .70 cents.

You get more kickback on Bitcoin.
Itwasme
Itwasme - 5/1/2024, 1:19 PM
@Matador - bitcoin isn't a rollercoaster...? Lol.

It's up over 20% Ytd and the S&P is only up just over 5.5%. It's the best performing media company in the world and one of the best performing Large Cap companies on the planet.

People can downplay it all they want, but those numbers are there for everyone to see.
Matador
Matador - 5/2/2024, 9:09 AM
@Itwasme - I'm just saying you get a better gain return in one day from Bitcoin then you would from Disney in a whole month. Catching it at it's lowest then selling the next day at it's highest.
Itwasme
Itwasme - 5/2/2024, 10:25 AM
@Matador - because it's way more volatile... you can lose way more money in a day than you can with Disney. It's a speculative investment.

Beyond that, it means nothing in this conversation about Disney's financial health. Something would be incredibly wrong with Disney if they were as volatile as Bitcoin.
Matador
Matador - 5/2/2024, 11:33 AM
@Itwasme - Well the year is not over so guess will see.
Itwasme
Itwasme - 4/30/2024, 11:58 AM
I really like how more auteur filmmakers are trying their hand at these sorts of films. It challenges them in new and different ways. For some reason people seem to discount how difficult it is to create a 4 quadrant blockbuster. Very rarely do they come out good. Compare the number of great blockbusters in a year to how every year there's a good dozen great dramas.
FireandBlood
FireandBlood - 4/30/2024, 12:14 PM
@Itwasme - We’re a few hours from May 1st and there’s only been 1 good one. A good blockbuster is rare to come by, but for the last 10 years, Disney’s done arguably the best job of providing them with a level of consistent quality. This year no doubt belongs to WB, though, between Dune, Furiosa and Joker. Now that’s a big boy trinity of films to drop in a single year.
Itwasme
Itwasme - 4/30/2024, 12:42 PM
@FireandBlood - Fall Guy is looking good, so there's hope! Maybe this is the year I get proven wrong. Lots of good blockbusters on the horizon, and many with auteur filmmakers. Might be why I might be so wrong. Being outside of the pandemic I'm hoping to see an increase in quality.
YouFlopped
YouFlopped - 4/30/2024, 12:06 PM
Tell ‘em bruh!

these lames think they are fighting some moral battle when they are the reason these corporations are in the billions. Fake outrage 😂😂😂 they should stop paying taxes and be homeless since they care so much 😂

Get that bag brother! I’ll be there opening weekend ✊🏾
FireandBlood
FireandBlood - 4/30/2024, 12:07 PM
My guy shut that shit talk all the way down. Isn’t it funny though how they never had this energy for Nolan or Villeneuve.
WEAPONXOXOXO
WEAPONXOXOXO - 4/30/2024, 1:10 PM
If "SOLD OUT" means I could by a house in cash, then where do I sign up?
ModHaterSLADE
ModHaterSLADE - 4/30/2024, 1:53 PM
Sell out is just popular to throw around nowadays, I don't recall him making any oaths not to work with Disney unless they waved enough money in front him.
kirbyfan
kirbyfan - 4/30/2024, 3:05 PM
If Jenkins feels he has made a good movie, who cares what anyone has to say?!
ObserverIO
ObserverIO - 4/30/2024, 3:35 PM
When film snobbery went mainstream it all went to hell.
ObserverIO
ObserverIO - 4/30/2024, 3:38 PM
I bet these people think Joker is the height of cinematic art and are looking forward to the musical sequel, lol.
ObserverIO
ObserverIO - 4/30/2024, 3:44 PM
“When you step into a world that already exists, it can be easy to assume that freedom is denied. I think, instead, you have to just work to create freedom, and I think that was what this process was."

I love this. Limitations breed creativity. A true artists knows that.
Matchesz
Matchesz - 4/30/2024, 5:52 PM
“Aaaaaaannd action!!”


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tmp3
tmp3 - 4/30/2024, 8:37 PM
Mufasa is to Moonlight what I am to Hercules. In other words, if a mid Disney film gets more people to read Hamlet, then it’s not a total loss.
Cleander
Cleander - 4/30/2024, 9:40 PM
Why is he shilling so hard for Disney? Make your money and shut up about it damn.

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