Ron Howard to take on Kipling’s “The Jungle Book”

The rumour mill was swirling only for a short while before we got official word yay or nay. A scant four days ago, The Hollywood Reporter published an exclusive that Ron Howard, who most recently helmed the race car blockbuster Rush, was in talks to direct a live action version of Rudyard Kipling’s 1894 story collection The Jungle Book for Warner Bros.

Today, it was announced that the Hollywood veteran (who’ll be celebrating his 60th birthday on March 1), has agreed to take over directing duties from Alejandro González Iñárritu (whose most notable English language release was 2006’s Babel) to direct the project, due to scheduling conflicts.

There is no word on a release date, as though Callie Kloves has finished writing the script, Howard has a plate full of work ahead of him yet before he even thinks of this new project: directing the adaptation of yet another Dan Brown novel (this time, Inferno) and producing an adaptation of The Parsifal Mosaic, based on the novel by a master of the spy genre, Robert Ludlum.

And then there’s the competition! Jon Favreau (of Iron-Man and other super cool films) was hired in 2013 to also direct a live action version of The Jungle Book, this one with a screenplay by Justin Marks for Disney. Yes, Disney. The juggernaut behind the 1967 classic animated feature, coincidentally the first film I ever saw (not in 1967, though), which later blew my mind as I discovered the voice of Kaa the snake was done by the same man who did the Cheshire Cat in Alice in Wonderland AND the original voice of Winnie-the-Pooh: Sterling Holloway.

For a 10-year-old Disney kid, this was huge. There were PEOPLE behind animated characters? And, they didn’t just do that ONE character? Whaat? As I said, mind blowing. A live action version will be much simpler. But wait, there’ll be two. Oh dear. Does anyone else remember 1991, the year of the two Robin Hoods? Yah, me neither, I only ever saw one of them. Guess which.

Sigrid Bernhoerster
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