Andy Serkis has revealed that the first trailer for his long-planned The Jungle Book adaptation, Mowgli, is coming very soon. Based on the book by Rudyard Kipling about a boy who grew up in the wild, the live-action film, originally titled Jungle Book: Origins, stars Rohan Chand as Mowgli, Andy Serkis as Baloo, Christian Bale as Bagheera, Benedict Cumberbatch as Shere Khan and Cate Blanchett as Kaa.
Mowgli was first announced by Warner Bros. Pictures in April 2012 with Harry Potter screenwriter Steve Kloves in talks to write, direct, and produce. However, by a year later, Alejandro González Iñárritu was in talks instead, though he too then had to leave the project due to scheduling conflicts because of his films Birdman and The Revenant. Ron Howard was next in line to helm the picture, but ultimately the distinction went to Serkis. This will be Serkis' second film as director.
It has been a big year for the actor turned director, who recently starred as Caesar in War for the Planet of the Apes, Supreme Leader Snoke in The Last Jedi and Ulysses Klaue in Black Panther. Serkis was honored as Showman of the Year at the 55th annual International Cinematographers Guild Publicists Awards on March 2, where he also sat down for an interview with THR about what's coming up next for Mowgli. He explained, "We’re literally a couple of months from completion now, and the film’s coming out in October, so very soon you’re going to start seeing trailers and promos with all the normal events coming up this year."
Unlike the 2016 live-action adaptation of Disney's The Jungle Book, Mowgli will be based directly on the iconic novel, getting rid of all the classic songs and adding a darker tone to the story. The 1967 animated film was actually supposed to be much darker, but Walt Disney was worried that it would be too much for children. Serkis' film will go back to this original take and has already earned a PG-13 rating for 'bloody images' and a 'dark Baloo'.
With only seven months go to go until the movie is in theaters, anticipation for Mowgli is at an all-time high. Serkis served as the second unit director for The Hobbit films, but this will be his most daring project yet. There is also the worry that any footage we see may be overshadowed by Disney's film two years prior. The question now is whether there's room for another The Jungle Book film. Disney sure seems to think so as they've already started on a sequel to their version of the story.
- Mowgli (2019) release date: Oct 19, 2018