The conversation then turned to The Jungle Book. Serkis cautioned that while it's still early in the process, he did express his enthusiasm in no uncertain terms:
"It's a real thrill, and I'm so excited it about it. It's a wonderful script and a wonderful retelling of Rudyard Kipling's original book of 'The Jungle Book.' Very much in the Warner Bros. tone, it's quite a dark take on the piece."
Serkis described how the development of a motion-capture version of George Orwell's barnyard-set screed on totalitarianism, Animal Farm, has helped evolved his method of having actors in performance-capture portray the four-legged animals of The Jungle Book.
Serkis also said that while he hadn't quite expected the announcement of his involvement with The Jungle Book to come so soon, the segue into directing (having served as Second Unit Director on Peter Jackson's Hobbit trilogy) is something he has been moving toward for some time, and will be “headlong into Jungle Book as of now.”
Serkis also spoke to THR about the Kipling adaptation, talking about first encountering the stories as a child in Baghdad, where he grew up:
"I found it mesmerizing, and it transported me into this incredible world. It's extraordinary that I'm getting a chance to bring it to the screen."
Elaborating on the tone and the faithfulness of the screenplay, Serkis went on to describe how he sees the world of this version of the material:
"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."
The original series of short stories which make up Kipling's The Jungle Book is of course far darker than the Disney animated film, which is still the best-known rendering. There's little chance of WB sticking to the original ending of the Mowgli stories (SPOILER! Everybody in his village dies after Mowgli is seen as an outcast and enlists Hathi the Elephant in razing the place to the ground), but a mature retooling of the classic story in the hands of someone acutely creative like Andy Serkis could yield something special and is likely to be a stark contrast to Disney's own retelling.
Dawn of the Planet of the Apes opens in theaters on July 11, 2014. The Jungle Book is in development at Warner Bros.