Move over Disney, Andy Serkis is now set to direct two Netflix films based on the classic books of your childhood. Just a few days after Netflix acquired the worldwide rights to his darker take on Rudyard Kipling's Jungle Book, Mowgli, it has been announced that Serkis will also adapt George Orwell's novel Animal Farm. That's right -- the book that still sends shivers down the spines of students in middle-school English classes will come to life via Serkis' signature performance-capture film. Published in 1945, the source material had animals rebelling against their farmers in an allegory about the Stalinist regime.
There's no word regarding whether or not Serkis will be starring as Napoleon, an intimidating pig who creates twisted commandments such as "all animals are created equal, but some animals are more equal than others," but considering his track record, it would be a great fit. The performance-capture mastermind has proved his unique ability to transform into chilling characters such as Gollum and Caesar, so let's hope he takes on another with this exciting project. Andy Serkis and his producing partner Jonathan Cavendish told Deadline they hope to use the tale to highlight the current relevance and power it holds particularly today, considering the social, economic and political climate. Serkis' fearless capacity to bring authenticity and believability to wicked characters makes him a great fit for bringing to life Animal Farm in a new and gripping way.
There have been myriad remakes of The Jungle Book story in the past, with Disney making several of those entries, including a very recent film in 2016. While Jon Favreau's re-imagining of The Jungle Book was more of a re-hashing of the Disney animated classic from 1967, Andy Serkis' version looks like it will offer something fresh to the story and is expected to be darker and more linked to Rudyard Kipling's book. The upcoming performance-capture movie promises to bring a much more mature angle to Rudyard Kipling's timeless tale, as seen in the Mowgli trailer. Serkis did promise some song-and-dance in the release, as Mowgli learns the customs of the Indian Holi Festival. In addition, the film has an impressive cast with Christian Bale as Bagheera, Cate Blanchett as Kaa, Benedict Cumberbatch as Shere Khan and Andy Serkis as Baloo.
Andy Serkis also expressed his excitement to work with Netflix specifically for these two projects. The highly-successful streaming platform will give him the creative control to push boundaries that other studios might not allow him to take risks with. Serkis has had Animal Farm on his project wish list since 2012, when his production company The Imaginarium made a rights deal with the George Orwell Estate. No official release dates yet, but get excited for Animal Farm and Mowgli, because truthfully most of the books of your childhood were actually dark tales.