Fresh off the disaster that was The Lone Ranger, Disney is hitching themselves onto another property from roughly 100 years ago- Rudyard Kipling’s “The Jungle Book.” The Hollywood Reporter announced today that a live-action adaptation was moving forward, with Justin Marks writing the screenplay. Marks previously wrote a draft of 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea for Disney, which suggests he may be an ideal writer for such a big-budget adaptation. However, his screenplay for Street Fighter: The Legend of Chun-Li says otherwise. With any luck, The Jungle Book will resemble the former more than the latter. As of now, no other names have been attached to the film.
Disney’s adaptation isn’t the only Jungle Book in the works, however. Kipling’s collection of stories is in the public domain, thus allowing anyone to have a go at it, and Warner Bros has a live-action version in the works with Steve Kloves (writer of seven of the eight Harry Potter films) as writer, director and producer. It’s likely the two films will find themselves in a similar position as last year’s Mirror, Mirror and Snow White and the Huntsman- two separate adaptations of the same work released at roughly the same time. Similarly, these Jungle Books may try to distinguish themselves by offering up some new twist on Kipling’s work. It’s a common trend these days, even when a rival studio isn’t making the same movie you are. Maleficent is Sleeping Beauty from the villain’s perspective, Alice In Wonderland had Tim Burton’s stamp all over it, and Beastly was Beauty and the Beast a la Twilight. One can only hope that the powers that be keep The Jungle Book as far away from Twilight as possible.