Serkis steps into the fray for Warner Brothers' version of Rudyard Kipling's iconic story
Andy Serkis, who hit worldwide notoriety for portraying the character of Gollum in The Lord of The Rings films, is to direct ‘The Jungle Book’ for Warner Bros., who will be under extra pressure to deliver a faithful version of the iconic tale with Disney also working on a live-action adaptation, directed by Jon Favreau.
Andy Serkis is set to direct 'The Jungle Book'
Serkis is thought to be the final turn in what has been a winding road towards finding a director. Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu (Babel) left the project due to scheduling conflicts while Ron Howard was briefly in talks to take the helm – they proved to be fruitless. Serkis will also produce the movie with ‘Harry Potter’ writer Steve Kloves and Jonathan Cavendish, who is Serkis’ partner at The Imaginarium - his Fox-based production company.
Although this will be the first full-length feature for Serkis, he did work as second unit director on Jackson's series of ‘Hobbit’ films, which have gone on to perform incredibly well in box offices around the world. Serkis was hugely involved in postproduction for the trilogy, too.
The choice has gone down well so far, with The Hollywood Reporter - who had the exclusive - calling the decision “outside-the-box thinking, yet not far-fetched.” Serkis has mastered the art of CG and motion capture after his extensive work in the field with Gollum, but also in King Kong and Steve Spielberg's ‘The Adventures of Tintin’ and ‘Planet of the Apes’ movies.
One important aspect of Serkis’ appointment is his experience dealing with CGI animals and animal-like creatures. Warner Bros. want to stay as close to the source material with this, meaning the dark nature of Rudyard Kipling – filtered and anodyne via Disney’s 1967 animated classic – will translate, and who better than Serkis to inject some realism, even when working with special effects.
Idris Elba will be portraying Shere Khan in Disney's 'Jungle Book'
This the second huge piece of Jungle Book news in as many weeks, with Idris Elba all but confirmed to play the role of killer tiger Shere Khan in Disney’s live-action take on the legend. The film is a mix of live action and VFX that is being overseen by Rob Legato, whose credits include Avatar, The Wolf Of Wall Street, Hugo and Titanic.