Andy Serkis’ forthcoming Jungle Book: Origins – based on Rudyard Kipling’s collection of stories – has been in development over at Warner Bros., since the time of Disney’s production of The Jungle Book. The film has now undergone a title change and locked in a release date for late next year.
Officially titled Mowgli, the story follows the upbringing of the now titular human child (played by Rohan Chand), who is raised by a wolf pack in the jungles of India. As he learns the often-harsh rules of the jungle, under the tutelage of a bear named Baloo (Andy Serkis) and a panther named Bagheera (Christian Bale), Mowgli becomes accepted by the animals of the jungle as one of their own. All but one: the fearsome tiger Shere Khan (Benedict Cumberbatch). But there may be greater dangers lurking in the jungle, as Mowgli comes face to face with his human origins. The other story’s central animal characters are: Kaa, the snake (Cate Blanchett); the leader of the wolf pack, Akela (Peter Mullan); the scavenging hyena, Tabaqui (Tom Hollander); Nisha, the female wolf (Naomie Harris), who adopts the baby Mowgli as one of her cubs; Nisha’s mate, Vihaan (Eddie Marsan); and Mowgli’s Brother Wolf (Jack Reynor). Freida Pinto and Matthew Rhys also star.
The film will be a blend of both live-action and state-of-the-art performance capture in a similar vein as the Disney adaptation. The Jon Favreau-directed The Jungle Book from 2016 was a massive hit for Disney and earned an Oscar for visual effects. Where Disney kept things family-friendly and honed in on the 1967 animated movie (including keeping the classic song “The Bear Necessities”) Serkis’ film will offer a “darker” take on the source material than both Disney adaptations.
Written by Callie Kloves, Mowgli was originally slated for release in 2016 but due to Favreau’s version, the film was shifted. Warner Bros. brought on Oscar-winning director Alfonso Cuaron to lend notes on the project as it underwent extra time to improve the picture and its combination of live-action and motion-capture.
Mowgli is now slated for release on October 19, 2018.
Images: Warner Bros., 20th Century Fox, Disney, Lucasfilm