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Andy Serkis and “The Jungle Book”

Alfonso-Cuaron-Gravity1-700x300Why have one The Jungle Book when you can have two for the price of… well… two? Wait, two movies called The Jungle Book? As a matter of fact, yes because Andy Serkis has been working on his own take of the classic Rudyard Kipling tale for his directorial debut. However, because Warner Bros. has continued to shuffle with their film release schedule, Serkis’ film has been pushed back to 2018. Still, the actor turned director doesn’t appear to be too upset by this as it allows him all the time he needs to get this movie just right, and part of that involves bringing in some outside help in the form of Alfonso Cuarón to help provide notes regarding production.

Because Warner Bros. has a profitable relationship with Cuarón, Slashfilm reports that the studio had no issues at all with bringing him on, but it has been stressed that he is not taking over the film, nor will likely receive any onscreen credit. He is there to simply give some advice on how to proceed with the making of this movie, and because both Gravity and Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban did so well for Warner Bros. there was no question from the studio about bringing him on for some minor consultation.

Serkis has made quite a name for himself, first with his acting with motion capture technology (Lord of the Rings), and secondly during the production of The Hobbit he aided Peter Jackson by taking on some of the Assistant Director responsibilities.

However, Jungle Book is his first time directing, and it sounds like a pretty ambitious project by any standard. Cuarón, an experienced director whose Gravity wowed audiences with its utterly lifelike depiction of space travel, should be a useful resource in helping Serkis get The Jungle Book where it needs to be.

By simply looking at the time of when Serkis’ film will be released obviously means that there will be comparisons made to the movie of the same title that Jon Favreau delivered for Disney, which was a bit lighter in tone making it the perfect family film. The fact that it also brought in a huge haul of money for Disney will also put Serkis’ film under a pretty intense microscope, even if it is coming out in 2018.

The cast for Serkis’ The Jungle Book does come off as “interesting,” with Serkis himself as Baloo, Benedict Cumberbatch as Shere Khan, Christian Bale as Bagheera, and Cate Blanchett a Kaa. The script by Callie Kloves sounds darker than Disney’s recent adaptation. Speaking to The Hollywood Reporter in 2014, Serkis said:

“What I love about the screen adaptation by Steve and Callie Kloves is it’s very truthful to the original book; it doesn’t shy away from its darkness. The jungle is a Garden of Eden and a wonderful place for Mowgli to grow up in, but also is a place of fear and a place of threat.”

In other words, we’re probably not going to get any cuddly singing bears.
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A second The Jungle Book movie? Is this a wise move by Warner Bros.? Do you they should have put this movie even further on the backburner instead of giving it the green light for 2018? Should they have just abandoned the project completely?
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