While Disney’s live-action take on The Jungle Book is getting ready to hit theaters in a couple weeks, the other live action take on the same story has decided that it needs a bit more time to get everything right for its version. Warner Bros has decided to push back Jungle Book: Origins a full year into 2018, and the film’s director agrees this is the right thing to do. Andy Serkis says to make the film as good as it can be they need to take as much time as they can.
For the last couple of years two different adaptations of Rudyard Kipling’s The Jungle Book have been in development. Disney had Jon Favreau directing a live-action adaptation of their classic animated film, while Warner Bros had Andy Serkis both directing and starring in their own version. The two films were already separated on the calendar by a year and a half but now Warner Bros. has tacked an additional 12 months on top of that by shifting the date from October 6, 2017 to October 19, 2018. On his Facebook page Serkis praised the decision, as he says the level of motion capture performances he is trying to achieve will require a lot of time.
I've got to say that personally I'm absolutely thrilled that Warner Brothers have changed the delivery date of Jungle Book: Origins. The ambition for this project is huge. What we are attempting is an unprecedented level of psychological and emotional nuance in morphing the phenomenal performances of our cast into the facial expressions of our animals. We are breaking new ground with realistic non-humanoid animal faces ,such as a panther or wolf, ensuring that they convincingly communicate with human language and emotion via performance capture, and are able to stand up to real scrutiny in richly complex dramatic scenes. So, every minute more that we have to evolve the technological pipeline will make all the difference...the evidence is there already and it's off the chain exciting, so hang on in there...This is truly next generation storytelling, and it will be the real deal!
Never let it be said that Andy Serkis undersells. Based on this statement, he really seems to be trying to do something special with Jungle Book: Origins. The film will mark the directorial debut of Serkis, in what has to be one of the better choices for a first time director, considering his experience with motion capture. Still, the challenge here does seem substantial. Generally, motion capture is used when digitally creating humans, or at least humanoid creatures, for the screen. Here Serkis will be trying to create human expressions on non-human animals. To say the ambition here is huge might even be an understatement.
The timing of the announcement is interesting, however. Early reviews of Disney’s The Jungle Book have been overwhelmingly positive. While it’s far from clear that the decision to push Jungle Book: Origins back was to give it more separation from Disney, the fact is that doing so will only help it in the long run.
Which version of The Jungle Book are you most excited to see? Is your choice getting closer, or did it just move further away?