If you are making a live action version of The Jungle Book that plans to rely heavily on CG technology and motion capture, you want someone to helm the project that has an innate understanding and knowledge of the technology and what it can and cannot do. Having played two iconic CG-created characters, there is probably none better than Andy Serkis and that is what Warner Bros. is banking on.
Serkis, best known for starring as Gollum in The Hobbit and Lord of the Rings films and King Kong in Peter Jackson’s 2005 remake, has signed on to direct the film adaptation of Rudyard Kipling’s short stories. Serkis is replacing Babel’s Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu who left the production at the beginning of the year, citing scheduling difficulties.
This will be Serkis’ feature directorial debut, however, he already has plenty of experiencing directing in this kind of environment as he directed the second unit for The Hobbit movies. An example of his work and what we can expect to see from him is the barrel-chase sequence from the latest film, The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug. In the sequence, Bilbo gets the dwarves to hide in the empty wine barrels so they can escape from the elves down the river. You can watch a brief behind-the-scenes glimpse of the making of the sequence below:
The Jungle Book focuses on Mowgli, an orphaned boy who is raised in the jungle by a pack of wolves. His friends include Baloo the bear and Bagheera the black panther, while his nemesis is the ferocious tiger Shere Khan. For the Warner Bros version, Callie Kloves wrote the script, which is said to have stuck closely to the original and is a lot darker than Disney’s animated classic most people know and love.
With a director now in place, the Warner Bros film is back on track to compete against Disney, which also has a live-action Jungle Book film in the works. Disney’s film, directed by Jon Favreau, will star Idris Elba as Shere Khan.
No release date has been set for either version and no casting announcements have been, including whether Serkis will play a part in the film, for the Warner Bros. project.
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