24 Mar – Hollywood actor Andy Serkis, who is best known for his performance capture roles Gollum in "The Lord Of The Rings" trilogy and Caesar in "Rise Of The Planet Of The Apes", will be taking over the director's role in Warner Bros.' film adaptation of "The Jungle Book".
The Hollywood Reporter wrote that Serkis is replacing director Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu ("Babel"), who left the project due to scheduling conflicts. Ron Howard ("Rush") was briefly considered, but negotiations did not get far along.
"The Jungle Book" will be Serkis' feature film directorial debut, unless his "Animal Farm" adaptation moves forward, but the actor is no stranger to directing as he served as the second unit director for "The Hobbit" trilogy.
Jonathan Cavendish, Serkis' partner at his company The Imaginarium, will be involved as a producer on the film.
However, Warner Bros. are not the only ones who will be producing a live-action version of "The Jungle Book". Disney also has a live-action "The Jungle Book" film in production, which will be directed by Jon Favreau, while Idris Elba is on board to voice the man-eating tiger Shere Khan.
"The Jungle Book" is based on a collection of stories by English author Rudyard Kipling. The stories mainly centre on Mowgli, a boy raised by wolves in the Indian Jungle with the help of Baloo the bear and Bagheera the black panther, and his fight with the tiger Shere Khan. 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'.
Unlike Disney's 1967 animated film version, Warner Bros. will be sticking closely to the source material, which is darker. They hope to "explore life-and-death issues and be true-to-life in portraying animal behaviour."