It’s been a while since we’ve heard an update on Warner Bros. The Jungle Book movie. Warners may have announced their project first, but Disney got theirs in front of audiences faster. After Jon Favreau‘s 2015 live-action/CG adaptation of the Rudyard Kipling classic triumphed at the box office and took home an Oscar for VFX, the Warner Bros. iteration, an Andy Serkis helmed mo-cap vehicle, fell off the map while the studio went back to the books to redevelop the project, reportedly with the help of Gravity director Alfonso Cuaron.
However, with Favreau busy on Disney’s The Lion King remake, which means his Jungle Book sequel is well in the distance, it looks like the wheels are in motion on Serkis’ adaptation once again. Previously titled Jungle Book: Origins, the Warner film has been retitled Mowgli along with the reveal of the first synopsis.
Here’s the official and very familiar synopsis:
“The story follows the upbringing of the human child Mowgli, raised by a wolf pack in the jungles of India. As he learns the often harsh rules of the jungle, under the tutelage of a bear named Baloo and a panther named Bagheera, Mowgli becomes accepted by the animals of the jungle as one of their own. All but one: the fearsome tiger Shere Khan. But there may be greater dangers lurking in the jungle, as Mowgli comes face to face with his human origins.”
Though the core of the story is the same, Serkis previously described his project as a “darker” take on the material. The script comes from Callie Kloves and film will combine live-action and motion capture technology to bring the world of Kipling’s adventures to life. In fact, the technology is the most interesting comparison to be made between the two remakes — Favreau and the Disney team opted to steer clear of mo-cap in favor of pure CGI animation, and I’ll be fascinated to see if a mo-cap craftsman like Serkis can bring something different to the material.
Mowgli will feature Christian Bale as the cunning panther, Bagheera; Cate Blanchett as the sinister snake, Kaa; Benedict Cumberbatch as the fearsome tiger, Shere Khan; Naomie Harris as Nisha, the female wolf, who adopts the baby Mowgli as one of her cubs; Andy Serkis as the wise bear, Baloo; Peter Mullan as the leader of the wolf pack, Akela; Jack Reynor as Mowgli’s Brother Wolf; Eddie Marsan as Nisha’s mate, Vihaan; and Tom Hollander as the scavenging hyena, Tabaqui.
On the human side, Matthew Rhys is Lockwood; Freida Pinto is Messua; and young actor Rohan Chand (Bad Words) will play Mowgli, the boy raised by wolves.
The film is slated to land in theaters in 2D and 3D on October 19, 2018.