In 2012, the copycat movie battle unfolded between two related Brothers Grimm fairy tale retellings, Mirror Mirror and Snow White and the Huntsman; this year, it was a duel of patriotic Die Hard-inspired thrillers with Olympus Has Fallen and White House Down, and in 2014, Kellan Lutz – who takes on the headlining status in this upcoming January’s The Legend of Hercules – hopes to win the showdown against his bigger and more experienced opponent, Dwayne Johnson (whose own Hercules movie arrives that following summer).
So, what’s on the docket for 2015? Well, Walt Disney Pictures has already set a date that October for a new live-action version of The Jungle Book, as directed by Jon Favreau (Iron Man 1&2, Cowboys & Aliens). Of course, the late Rudyard Kipling’s source material – a collection of short stories about the ‘man-cub’ Mowgli and various animals of India – has long been in the public domain, so there’s nothing to prevent WB from moving ahead with its own film adaptation, with a 2015 release date looking more likely now than before.
Deadline is reporting that Oscar-nominated filmmaker Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu (Biutiful, Birdman) is considering directing Warner Bros.’ Jungle Book project, based on an adapted script that was penned by Callie Kloves: the daughter of screenwriter Steve Kloves, whose sole official credit thus far is as a ‘staff assistant’ on the WB-backed period action-drama, Gangster Squad. Steve Kloves, best known for writing seven of the eight Harry Potter movies, was originally lined up to both write and direct the studio’s new Kipling retelling; he’s currently onboard as a producer only.
Both Disney and WB’s Jungle Book are, going by Deadline‘s reporting, at the same stage in pre-production, so it wouldn’t come as a surprise if the latter decides to go ahead and target a 2015 release for its respective jungle adventure. Meanwhile, the Mouse House will probably start casting Favreau’s movie soon, having a finished script draft penned by Justin Marks (Street Fighter: The Legend of Chun-Li).
Here is what Favreau previously said, with regard to Marks’ take on Kipling’s original literature:
“I can’t say that much, but there is an interesting take [on 'Jungle Book'] that could be very cool, and the hope is to relaunch a family brand with certain mythic elements. It is my first real family film since Elf, and there are action elements and visual effects that I feel like my experience on the Iron Man films are going to be useful.”
Inarritu’s oeuvre isn’t exactly friendly to the whole family, so it wouldn’t come as a shock to learn that his planned vision for WB’s The Jungle Book is grittier and perhaps more grisly (or, at least, grounded in magical realism) than what Favreau has in mind, In other words, Inarritu’s film would end up being to Favreau’s movie what Snow White and the Huntsman is to the more whimsical, colorful and kid-friendly Mirror Mirror, along the lines of Stephen Sommers’ 1994 live-action Jungle Book movie (also distributed by the Mouse House); though, maybe less playful than Sommers’ rendition.
What sounds more interesting to you: a comparatively fantastical and light-weight Jungle Book movie directed by Jon Favreau? Or something a littler darker and more intense, as Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu might be inclined to make?
Disney’s The Jungle Book will open in theaters on October 9th, 2015. We’ll keep you posted on development for WB’s version.