Warner Bros. and Disney are developing competing live-action adaptations of The Jungle Book. When director Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu (Babel) departed the WB project and Idris Elba signed on to voice Shere Khan in the Jon Faverau edition, Disney took the early lead. But Warner Bros. is not ready to throw in the towel just yet. After sending out feelers to Ron Howard, WB found their director in Andy Serkis. Serkis is best known as the godfather of motion-capture acting, the man behind Gollum of Lord of the Rings and Caesar of Rise of the Planet of the Apes. The Jungle Book will be Serkis’ feature directorial debut (depending on the status of his Animal Farm adaptation), but he served as the second unit director for The Hobbit movies—no walk in the park.
In Rudyard Kipling’s short stories, the orphaned boy Mowgli is raised by wolves, befriends Baloo the bear and Bagheera the black panther, and fights the tiger Shere Khan, so there are plenty of CG/mo-cap characters for Serkis to curate. More after the jump.
According to Heat Vision, Callie Kloves‘ script sticks close to the source material and strives to “explore life and death issues and be true-to-life in portraying animal behavior.” Kipling’s work is darker than the 1967 Disney cartoon musical. Here’s the synopsis:
The story of the man-cub Mowgli who is raised by wolves in the Indian jungle, guided by his mentors Baloo the bear, Bagheera the black panther and the ancient python Kaa, and who confronts his arch-enemy Shere Khan the tiger, is one of the greatest literary myths ever created. Mowgli’s adventures are juxtaposed with other animal stories set in the British Empire, ranging from the heroic battle of ‘Rikki-tikki-tavi’ and the Himalayan pastoral ‘Purun Bhagat’ to the drama of survival in ‘The White Seal’. With The Jungle Books Rudyard Kipling drew on ancient beast fables, Buddhist philosophy and memories of his Anglo-Indian upbringing to create a rich, symbolic portrait of man and nature, and an eternal classic of childhood that has had a lasting impact on our imaginations. [Amazon]