andy serkis jungle book movieIn Hollywood, there is a war brewing... between two big budget versions of Rudyard Kipling's "The Jungle Book" (which is apparently very firmly in the public domain). On one hand, we have Disney's version, being directed by Jon Favreau and featuring Idris Elba as the voice of Shere Khan, the fearsome tiger. On the other, we have Warner Bros' own "Jungle Book," which was, at one point, going to be directed by Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu. Somewhat predictably, the director of "Babel" lost interest in the material (the studio cited "scheduling conflicts") but now that production has found a replacement in Andy Serkis, according to the Hollywood Reporter. That's right, my precious, Gollum is directing his very own movie!

While this is somewhat of a letdown from the studio's previous version, just because we wanted to see what the director of "Amores Perros" would do with a project about talking animals, but we have faith in Serkis's abilities. For a number of years he's been shadowing his mentor and collaborator, Peter Jackson, ultimately shooting second unit stuff for Jackson's "Hobbit" trilogy (Serkis was responsible for that amazing barrel chase sequence in "Desolation of Smaug"). Serkis gained worldwide attention for portraying Gollum in the original "Lord of the Rings" trilogy, a triumph of cutting-edge technology melding with an absolutely outstanding performance.

Serkis, in his capacity as the world's most talented performance-capture actor, can next be seen in "Dawn of the Planet of the Apes" this summer. He previously starred in Jackson's "King Kong" and Steven Spielberg's "Adventures of Tintin" (among others).

According to the Hollywood Reporter's report, this version of the story (written by Callie Kloves, daughter of "Harry Potter" screenwriter Steve Kloves) is "darker" than the Disney version. That's all and good, but what about the songs? Exactly.

Photo by ANDREW COWIE/AFP/Getty Images
categories Movies