Saturday, March 22, 2014

Dueling Jungle Book Films Get Ready for Production

There are currently two film projects based on The Jungle Book, the collection of short stories written by Rudyard Kipling, in pre-production. Andy Serkis, who played the CG-created Gollum character in the Lord of Rings films, will direct a live action Jungle Book for Warners.

The stories center on Mowgli, an orphan raised by wolves. The boy befriends Baloo the bear, Bagheera the black panther and the ferocious tiger Shere Khan. The stories were originally published in magazines in 1893 through 1894.

Disney is working on a live action Jungle Book which is currently in casting. Jon Favreau (Elf, Iron Man) will direct. From The Hollywood Reporter:
Putting Serkis in the director's chair is outside-the-box thinking, yet not far-fetched. Jungle Book would be Serkis' feature directorial debut after directing second unit on Peter Jackson's The Hobbit movies, the third of which Warners is due to open in December. Some of the shoots involved the creation of elaborate and lively action sequences. For example, Serkis helmed the widely praised barrel-chase sequence in The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug. 
Jackson entrusted Serkis with the job after Serkis developed a command of CG technology through his acting work not only in LOTR, but also in Jackson's King Kong, Steve Spielberg's The Adventures of Tintin and the new Planet of the Apes movies.
And Warners’ version, at any rate, is likely to be a darker Jungle Book than those whose experience of Rudyard Kiping’s stories are based on Disney’s 1967 animated classic.
Warners is sticking closely to the source material, which is darker than most people know, seeing as how most of the knowledge of the material is distilled from Disney's 1967 animated classic. The Warners movie hopes to explore life-and-death issues and be true-to-life in portraying animal behavior. Hiring Serkis, who has pioneered lifelike animal behavior and characterization with his performances in such movies as Rise of the Planet of the Apes, is seen as an important first step.

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