Andy Serkis Says His ‘Jungle Book’ Will Be ‘Scary’ and ‘Dark’

It’s a relief that Jon Favreau’s live-action remake of The Jungle Book was such a big hit. It featured a great cast, gorgeous special effects, and a smartly told story that appealed to both adults and kids. Disney has been rebooting many of their classics like this one, but there happens to be another retelling of the tale in the works. Andy Serkis, unofficially known as the master of motion-capture performance, has dabbled in directing work during the shooting of Peter Jackson’s Lord of the Rings and Hobbit trilogies, but he’s now on to helming his own big project.

He’s attached to the Warner Bros. project simply titled Jungle Book. The film was originally set for a 2017 release but has since then been pushed back to 2018 so that the motion-capture technology can reach the quality that Serkis is apparently needing. The few details that have been released for the film seem to show a more mature take on the story, which will probably appeal more to adults and teens even more so than Favreau’s version did. Serkis elaborated more on his approach during the Vanity Fair/Chopard party (via Vulture).

“Ours is for a slightly older audience…it’s a PG-13, more a kind of [‘Planet of the Apes’-esque] movie, a slightly darker take, closer to Rudyard Kipling’s…it’s great to scare kids in a safe environment because it’s an important part of development, and we all loved to be scared as kids, so we shouldn’t overly protect them.”

It’s no surprise that Serkis is leaning more towards the more darker tone of the recent Plant of the Apes prequels, both of which he had a major role in. The director went on to explain the other differences from the Disney version, particularly with the story itself.

“It’s a story of an outsider, someone who is trying to accept the laws and customs of a particular way of living and then has to adapt to another culture, a human culture, which of course he should be able to adapt to, because this is what he is. So it’s about two different species and their laws and customs, and neither are entirely right.”

So, it’s possible we could actually be seeing a pretty different film than what most may be expecting. Favreau’s version didn’t explore much of the human interactions that Mowgli encounters, and considering Serkis’ vast experience in participating in films that explore the themes of humans vs. animals, he’s really the perfect man for the job. And recently Gravity director Alfonso Cuaron came aboard to offer some extra magic for Serkis’ vision.

While it may sadden some that Jungle Book has been pushed back a year, it may at least make sense financially since it will help give audiences more time in between the two versions. The Jungle Book has currently grossed over $800 million worldwide, and doesn’t seem to be slowing any time soon. Disney has announced that there will be a sequel, with Favreau more than likely taking the wheel once again. So even if we may be in for a flood of retellings of Rudyard Kipling’s classic tale over the next few years, it seems like they will be quite different creatively.

The Jungle Book is currently playing in theaters, and Andy Serkis’ Jungle Book is set to open on October 19, 2018.

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