With director Alejandro González Iñárritu (21 Grams, Babel) dropping out of the project due to scheduling issues related to post-production duties on his latest film, Birdman, Warner Bros. has approached Ron Howard to take the helm on their live-action adaptation of The Jungle Book.
The script, written by screenwriter Callie Kloves, is an adaptation from novelist and poet Rudyard Kipling’s short stories featuring feral jungle child, Mowgli, and his animal pals Bagheera and Baloo, and the ever awful Bengal tiger, Shere Khan.
The story of Mowgli and friends was brought to pop culture prominence with Disney’s 1967 animated adaptation, The Jungle Book, their next followup being 1994’s live-action effort, Rudyard Kipling’s The Jungle Book, starring Jason Scott Lee, and a poorly received theatrical sequel 27 years later with The Jungle Book 2. Of course, that doesn’t mean Walt Disney Studios is calling it quits on yet another interpretation of the tale, as Jon Favreau is taking directing duties for a new live-action take of their own.
Callie’s father Steve Kloves, responsible for writing all eight entries into the Harry Potter franchise and the forever-in-limbo Akira, will produce alongside Howard’s Imagine Entertainment if negotiations come together. Even if said negotiations do prove fruitful and Ron Howard takes the gig, the director is booked to the hilt for the foreseeable future with a cornucopia of big projects.
He’s currently in post-production on Heart of the Sea, an adaptation of novelist Nathaniel Philbrick’s book on the sinking of the Essex, a New England whaling ship infamously sunk in the South Pacific by an aggressive sperm whale, and the story famously noted to be the catalyst for the writing of Herman Melville’s Moby-Dick. The film stars Chris Hemsworth, Cillian Murphy, Ben Wishaw, and Brendan Gleeson. Howard is also attached for the third installment of Dan Brown’s Da Vinci Code series, Inferno, and is ever present in the conversation to bring Stephen King’s The Dark Tower series to the big screen, having apparently recently talked to Breaking Bad’s Aaron Paul about a role as Eddie Dean.
In short, both Favreau and Howard are busy guys, and as both are likely to be accommodated by their respective studios, there’s probably not going to be any major movement on either front for a good little stretch. Still, fans of Kipling’s series of tales are sure to be happy with the idea of getting a double-dose of big screen jungle kiddo, whenever that may occur.