The race to make a new live-action version of Rudyard Kipling’s The Jungle Book just got hotter. With Jon Favreau reaching the casting stage for Disney, Warner Bros. has tracked down a director to replace Alejandro González Iñárritu, who had a scheduling conflict. The new man for the gig is none other than Andy Serkis.
While Ron Howard had been touted at one time, Serkis will be the one to bring the film to life. It’s certainly an intriguing choice. While the actor has primarily been known for his work in front of the camera, he’s increasingly been gaining experiencing calling the shots. Peter Jackson put him in charge of second unit work on the Hobbit trilogy, and Serkis oversaw some of the best work of the films to date, including the barrel sequence from The Desolation Of Smaug. In addition to the years he’s spent on film sets and his work collaborating on performance capture projects such as Lord Of The Rings, King Kong and Rise Of The Planet Of The Apes, Serkis has been developing his own slate of films via his production outfit The Imaginarium.
So while this would mark his first time as the sole director on a huge project, it’s not hard to see why Warners would trust him with such a big responsibility. The Jungle Book, with its tale of orphaned boy Mowgli and his adventures around various animals, will require plenty of performance capture to bring the likes of Baloo the bear and Shere Khan the tiger to life. With a script by Callie Kloves, it’s apparently set to be a return to the darker side of Kipling’s tale.