Not to be confused with Disney and director Jon Favreau's recently-released live-action interpretation of Rudyard Kipling's classic The Jungle Book, more details of Warner Bros' Andy Serkis led version, simply titled Jungle Book, have begun to emerge.
It sounds as if Jungle Book will pitch itself completely differently if Serkis has his way, with a more mature direction that will likely appeal to adults and teens as much as it will kids. Kipling's source material lends itself well to such a vision and provides plenty of opportunity for terror and conflict - and some fans of the book will surely be delighted that such an interpretation is finally in the works.
"Ours is for a slightly older audience...it's a PG-13, more a kind of ['Planet of the Apes'-esque] movie, a slightly darker take, closer to Rudyard Kipling's...it’s great to scare kids in a safe environment because it’s an important part of development, and we all loved to be scared as kids, so we shouldn’t overly protect them"
Serkis wen on to summarize Jungle Book as follows:
"It’s a story of an outsider, someone who is trying to accept the laws and customs of a particular way of living and then has to adapt to another culture, a human culture, which of course he should be able to adapt to, because this is what he is. So it’s about two different species and their laws and customs, and neither are entirely right."
It seems then, that the mature tone isn't the only difference between the two films. Disney's The Jungle Book didn't delve too far into Mowgli's interaction with his fellow humans and instead kept him largely in the eponymous jungle, hunted by an irritable Idris Elba as Shere Khan. However given Serkis' description, it would appear that his version of the man-cub will be forced to re-assimilate himself into human culture, subsequently setting the film within an entirely different area of Rudyard Kipling's mythology.
This follows on from last month's news that Jungle Book has been delayed by a full year until October 2018 in order to achieve the level of motion capture Andy Serkis is seeking to create. The move will give Alfonso Cuarón more time to weave his sound stage magic after it was reported back in February that he would be joining the project to offer his expertise and vision. The delay will also provide a little bit of breathing room for audiences to digest 2016's Disney version and may make film-goers a little hungrier for a return to the Jungle.
Of course given that two versions of the same source material are being produced so close together, there are bound to be comparisons and the Warner Bros. movie will definitely have plenty to live up to, considering the roaring success of Disney's adaptation. The film has currently grossed over $800 worldwide, already earning itself a spot on 2016's list of most profitable films and also attracted plenty of critical acclaim, with reviews across the board singing the praises of the movie's lush visuals, heartfelt story and vivid characters.
We've argued previously that there is plenty of room for multiple shades of Jungle Book stories on the big screen but will Serkis' interpretation be a success - or will audiences be unwilling to see two versions of the same story in the space of two years?
Jungle Book is set to open in U.S. theaters on October 19th 2018.