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Moonlight director Barry Jenkins to direct The Lion King 2: ‘A dream come true’

What a gig.

By Jamie Tabberer

Barry Jenkins will direct The Lion King 2, it has been announced.

His hit 2016 film Moonlight, about a gay love affair spanning decades, won the 2017 Best Picture Oscar.

It also won the Best Supporting Actor (for Mahershala Ali) and Best Adapted Screenplay gongs.

Jenkins replaces Jon Favreau, director of 2019’s The Lion King.

The hiring was confirmed in a report by Deadline yesterday: there is no release date or production start date at present.

The publication suggests the plot could include an origin story for Simba’s father, Mufasa.

“Helping my sister raise two young boys during the ’90s, I grew up with these characters,” Jenkins said (as per Deadline).

“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 Lion King – a live-action remake of the animated 1994 original – grossed $1.657 billion (£1.25b) at the global box office, despite mixed reviews.

Sir Elton John, who contributed songs to the original film, called the remake a “huge disappointment” in an interview with GQ.

It featured the vocal talents of Donald Glover, Beyonce and Seth Rogen, among others.

Jenkins also directed If Beale Street Could Talk, based on the book by iconic Black gay writer James Baldwin.