Mufasa: The Lion King director and Oscar winner Barry Jenkins has revealed that his work on The Underground Railroad from Prime Video with ILM helped him understand that he could be the one to bring this prequel to The Lion King to life.
Speaking to IGN, Jenkins said that The Underground Railroad was his first project of “heavy visual effects” and that opened his eyes.
“It was something I had always wanted to do.“Jenkins said of working on a CGI-heavy project.”I was finishing The Underground Railroad when this project came to me, so it was great to work with visual effects for the first time in my career. I had done visual effects, but not like this. It was great to see what that process was like from the inside. It helped me understand that I could make this movie“.
For those of you unfamiliar, The Underground Railroad premiered on Prime Video in 2021 and was a series based on the novel of the same name by Colson Whitehead, winner of the Pulitzer Prize. She followed “Cora Randall’s desperate bid for freedom in the Antebellum South”.
ILM worked on the project, contributing 122 shots across seven episodes, from “a CG recreation of the Chicago train hub, an extensive network of underground tunnels and train tracks, and the fire-swept plains of Tennessee.” .
As for the movie itself, Jenkins talked about Mufasa and how he is the embodiment of greatness, even though that greatness was something he had to earn.
“Mufasa is greatness, he is simply greatnessJenkins said.It’s James Earl Jones, and he’s basically perfect. And I think it’s very important for kids to understand that people aren’t born perfect, they’re not just kings, they’re shaped by their experiences. So they can look forward to going on this journey and understanding how his friends, his family, his experiences shaped him and made him the person that he is.”
“I think it’s a great thing for kids to see, and for any human being to see, because maybe in the world we feel like ‘I can’t be that because I wasn’t born in this place,’ and seeing the original movie , I always assume that ‘Oh Mufasa, he’s obviously the king’. And in this movie we get to experience how he became king“.
Mufasa: The Lion King was officially announced at D23 2022 and will serve as a prequel to the 2019 live-action adaptation of The Lion King when it hits theaters in 2024.