Andy Serkis' Mowgli Has Music, Just Not The Songs You Might Expect

Mowgli at sunrise

If I were to mention The Jungle Book to you, your gut reaction might be to start singing The Bare Necessities, or whistling I Wan'Na Be Like You. Totally understandable. Because of the animated version of The Jungle Book that came out in 1967, Walt Disney has cornered the market on recognizable versions of Rudyard Kipling's classic novel. The 2016 live-action version, directed by Jon Favreau, also made use of the sing-along songs, putting them back in the conversation. So when we interviewed Andy Serkis recently about his upcoming interpretation of the material, Mowgli, we jokingly asked if he had songs, and his answer was honest and surprising! Serkis said:

The animals are not singing. There are some songs. [Laughs] Because we spend a considerable amount of time in the village with the humans. The context for our movie is very much sort of Colonial India, at the turn of the century. The Indian village has ritual. Part of Mowgli's journey is assimilating into the world of man, where there are customs and rituals, and we begin to see him deal with, mildly, what a Holi Festival is like. Well, you see that in the trailer. So there is, there's definitely music. And the score is beautiful in fact, and it's written and composed by an Anglo Indian composer, [a] world musician, Nitin Sawhney. So music is very much a part of it. But there is no 'Bare Necessities.' No king of the Swingers. [Laughs]

The Holi Festival, an Indian tradition, does surface in the new trailer for Mowgli, which just arrived. This is a mature take on Kipling's story, a live-action interpretation that follows the journey of a boy named Mowgli (Rohan Chand) who fights for survival while growing up in the jungle. And yet, as you can see in the tease, there are important human parts played by Freida Pinto and Matthew Rhys, who will be integral to Mowgli's arc. Here, give the Mowgli trailer a viewing:

The music isn't the only difference between previous Disney takes on this material and the version Andy Serkis will release later this year in Mowgli. As we discussed his vision further, Serkis told CinemaBlend:

I think that's the other thing that's different about this movie is that it doesn't rely on the adults, or the animals. They're there, but they are supporting [Mowgli's] story. We don't take huge diversions to enjoy, you know, a moment or two with characters unless it's absolutely fundamental to the story. And that's what keeps it kind of edgy really, I think, is that it really is, as I say, you're with him on his journey

The journey begins for the character of Mowgli later this year. Andy Serkis' star-studded Mowgli opens in theaters on October 19, and promises to be a fresh take on a classic tale. Do you like what you see so far? Weigh in below with your thoughts.

Sean O'Connell
Managing Editor

Sean O’Connell is a journalist and CinemaBlend’s Managing Editor. He's frequently found on Twitter at @Sean_OConnell. ReelBlend cohost. A movie junkie who's Infatuated with comic-book films. Helped get the Snyder Cut released, then wrote a book about it.