Andy Serkis best known for his motion capture performances in The Lord of the Rings and the new Planet of the Apes film series plans to make his directorial debut with Warner Bros. adaptation of The Jungle Book according to the Hollywood Reporter. He previously directed second unit under Peter Jackson for The Hobbit movies. We reported earlier that Ron Howard had been in talks to direct after Alejandro Inarritu stepped away but it seems those discussions led nowhere.
The Jungle Book is a series of short stories by Rudyard Kipling about a boy named Mowgli, who is raised by wolves in the jungles of India. Disney adapted the stories into an animated film in 1967 that shared character names but little in the way of plot. A new live action adaptation is also in the works at Disney directed by Jon Favreau (Iron Man) with Idris Elba as the voice of the man-hating tiger Shere Khan. Warner has previously stated that its version will stick more closely to the source material than previous adaptations and will have a darker tone, though have yet to make any cast announcements.
It’s difficult to determine what Serkis’ involvement means for the Warner adaptation. While both Inarritu and Howard seemed well suited for a darker take on the story, Serkis is best known for his involvement in wide audience blockbuster material. He’s certainly experienced with motion capture, and would be well prepared for organizing scenes with crowds of CG animals. Plenty of live actors have successfully made the transition to director, we shall see if an actor known more for motion capture can accomplish the same.