The above image is what might happen if an actor forgets his lines on the set of The Jungle Book. According to THR, Andy Serkis is making the jump from playing apes of all sizes and second unit directing for The Hobbit to making his first feature. Just to be clear, this is the Warners Bros. live-action version and not the Disney live-action version being directed by Jon Favreau. If a third studio decides they want to have a say in Rudyard Kipling’s classic, it’ll get confusing.
Warners has a steady history of taking interesting risks, and this is a perfect example of something that’s yawn-worthy being transformed by a left-field hire. The sound you just heard is attention being piqued. Or created altogether. Before Serkis, the prospect of another version of the little boy lost story was more what-happened-to-creativity nonsense, but that doesn’t mean that the project gets a stamp of approval all the sudden.
Still, Serkis is an inspired choice. The rare actor making the jump to directing who has not only trained with a great talent, but who has worked alongside one in Peter Jackson.
I recognize that it’s not the right studio, but this whole Jungle Book resurgence can’t help but bring to mind Disney’s 1994 attempt.
First of all, wow: Lean Headey. Talk about time forgotten. Second of all, wow: John Cleese and Sam Neill with an assist from bad guy Cary Elwes. A tidy little time capsule that looks exactly like it was made to look like Robin Hood: Prince of the Jungle Thieves.
The only thing we can be certain of is that neither Disney nor Warners’ version will look like this. Animals without CGI? Unthinkable. Especially with Serkis in the director’s chair. He’s going to look awesome yelling “Action!” wearing this.