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Why it's important Andy Serkis is directing Jungle Book: Origins


Before you start thinking this is a case of déjà vu, no Disney are not remaking their animated and live-action The Jungle Book tale again.

In 2018 a new adaptation of author Rudyard Kipling’s 1894 classic will be hitting the big screens, helmed by celebrated War for the Planet of the Apes star Andy Serkis.

We’re beyond excited that Serkis is behind the camera, so here are a few more reasons why this latest adaptation of The Jungle Book should be on your radar.

He's the master of motion capture

This new adaptation of The Jungle Book will use motion capture to transport its furry cast of characters from page to screen, and if there’s one person in the whole world who knows the ins and outs of motion capture, it’s Andy Serkis.

Serkis has already played two very different types of apes: as the titular character in King Kong and as super-intelligent Caesar in the blockbusting Apes trilogy.

Of course, his pioneering role in this arena was as the devious Gollum in The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit trilogies. Add in Captain Haddock from The Adventures of Tintin: The Secret Unicorn and the mysterious Supreme leader Snoke in the new Star Wars trilogy, it’s no surprise Andy Serkis is noted as the go-to guy.

Serkis has also been motion capture consultant on massive blockbusters in which he wasn't the star, including the reboot of Godzilla and Marvel's Avengers: Age of Ultro.

Known as the king of motion capture acting and the performance capture expert, it's no surprise the movie's technological achievements, not to mention the A-list cast including Christian Bale (Bagheera) and Benedict Cumberbatch (Shere Khan), are in the best possible hands.

He's learned how to direct from the best

Serkis has been directed by some of the biggest names in Hollywood. From Joss Whedon (Avengers: Age of Ultron) to Christopher Nolan (The Prestige), J.J. Abrams (Star Wars: The Force Awakens) to Steven Speilberg (Tintin) and Peter Jackson (The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit), Serkis will have certainly learnt from some of the best filmmakers alive today.

Even before Jungle Book: Origins hits Cineworld, another Andy Serkis-directed film will be released later this year: Breathe. Starring Andrew Garfield and Claire Foy, the film follows the real life story of Robin Cavendish who is paralysed from the next down after being diagnosed with polio at the age of 28 and is given only three months to live.

The film will open the 2017 London Film Festival and is already generating serious buzz. Jungle Book was filmed before Breathe, but due to the CGI and special effects involved, Breathe will be released first.

From first time director to major Hollywood filmmaker with not one but two directorial projects under his belt: Serkis is surely about to movie into the next phase of his remarkable career. Little wonder the new Jungle Book movie is so feverishly anticipated.

He's already the franchise king

Clearly there’s the Planet of the Apes reboot trilogy and The Hobbit/The Lord of the Rings films, but he’s also starred in the Marvel Cinematic Universe as Ulysses Klaue (Avengers: Age of Ultron and, next year, Black Panther), as well as Star Wars: The Force Awakens and The Last Jedi (out this Christmas) as the villainous Snoke

Not only has Serkis been part of big films, but he’s also played big, real life icons such as British punk music legend Ian Dury in Sex & Drugs & Rock & Roll, William Hare in Burke and Hare (2010) and even Albert Einstein in the television film Einstein and Eddington (2008).

By working with great directors, as well as being an expert on motion-capture and tackling some of the biggest film franchises, Andy Serkis is wll positioned to tackle the epic sweep and complex characters of The Jungle Book.

The story is of course synonymous with Disney, after the 1967 animation and their 2016 live-actin remake directed by Jon Favreau. But Serkis’s version is being distributed by Warner Bros and plans to go its own way. With the capacity to be much darker than the Disney versions, this adaptation will certainly be a treat for the eyes and no doubt explore Mowgli and his animal friends in a different way than we’ve seen before.

Hollywood loves him

Serkis is rumoured to have more directing jobs upcoming. He founded motion capture film studio, The Imaginarium Studios, along with Jonathan Cavendish (the son of Breathe’s Robin Cavendish). Other films the studio are rumoured to be making are an adaptation of George Orwell’s famous Animal Farm and a film about Rumpelstiltskin.

The company have also obtained the film rights for novel The Bone Season, written by Samantha Shannon. Given Serkis' level of expertise these films will likely feature motion capture, a very exciting prospect indeed. It’s safe to say Andy Serkis is a busy man.

As you can see, it’s pretty big deal that Andy Serkis is directing Jungle Book: Origins. Forget about the Disney version, we’re all ready to see this darker, enthralling retelling of Rudyard Kipling’s novel.

Make sure you keep up to date with all the latest news about the movie at the @Cineworld blog. We’re hoping a trailer lands soon. 

Nadine Shambrook is a writer who blogs for Cineworld as part of our news team.