The race to make a new, live-action adaptation of The Jungle Book continues apace. Revving his engine in Disney’s car is Jon Favreau, who entered talks in November. Now, Warners is hoping that Ron Howard might slide on to the grid in their own branded car.
Yes, we’re probably pushing the racing metaphor a little far, but given Howard’s work on Rush, can you really blame us? As a director/producer who likes to have plenty of options lined up, Howard recently became attached to true-life drug drama Mena.
But The Jungle Book is a very different matter. Warner Bros. has been gearing up to get this one made for a while now, initially approaching Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu, who was interested but had to drop out due to a scheduling clash.
Now the studio hopes that Howard might consider making the film a priority once he finishes marine tragedy In The Heart Of The Sea. Yet Howard, talking at this Sunday's BAFTA ceremony press conference, cautioned that it was a little early for the studio to prepare his vine swing director's chair: "Frankly, [the news] was prematurely released as a given. I am happy to admit we are in conversations about it – to the point that I brought my Kipling along as homework. An exciting prospect, but we’re in very early discussions."
If he does jump aboard The Jungle Book, he’ll be working with writer Callie Kloves and producer Steve Kloves (who you may remember as Harry Potter's principal screenwriter). If you noticed the name similarity there, that might be because Callie is Steve’s daughter. With fellow Potter alumnus David Yates planning a new take on Tarzan, it seems like the jungle's the place to be for Warners right now.
Howard would dive into a story set in the jungles of India, where orphan Mowgli is raised by wolves, befriends a bear named Baloo and tangles with the tiger Shere Khan. Could the appeal of dipping back into family-friendly fare prove a big lure? We’ll see whether the Book trumps Mena in his affections.