Andy Serkis is already well-known for his acclaimed (and arguably, Oscar-worthy) work as a performance-capture actor, but he goes behind the camera for his latest, big-budget feature, an adaptation of The Jungle Book that he directs. Netflix has released the first, full-length trailer for Mowgli: Legend of the Jungle ahead of its premiere later this year.
Directed by Serkis from a script penned by Callie Kloves, Mowgli promises to be a “much darker” spin on the classic tale of an orphaned boy raised in the jungles of India by a host of animals, only to be forced to decide between the world of man and that of the jungle. The film mixes live-action performance with performance-capture acting as it tells the tale of Mowgli’s journey from “man cub” to young adult, and the dangers he faces as he grows into his humanity and must walk the line between the wilds of the jungle and man’s domain.
Like Jon Favreau’s 2016 film that was also based on The Jungle Book, Mowgli features an all-star ensemble cast portraying the jungle’s inhabitants, including Christian Bale as the panther Bagheera, Serkis as the bear Baloo, Cate Blanchett as the snake Kaa, Naomie Harris as the wolf Nisha, and Benedict Cumberbatch as the terrifying tiger Shere Khan. Young actor Rohan Chand plays Mowgli in the film.
Serkis has indicated that Mowgli will set itself apart from Favreau’s adaptation of the story with a darker version of the story, and the trailer seems to indicate that it will cover quite a bit of different territory — particularly involving the local community of humans — than the 2016 film. The film was co-produced by Serkis and Harry Potter screenwriter Steve Kloves, and Alfonso Cuaron (Gravity) reportedly provided notes on the project as an adviser.
Originally scheduled for release in October 2016, the film was later pushed back in order to continue work on the visual effects and create some space between it and Favreau’s feature for Disney. Mowgli: Legend of the Jungle will now have a limited theatrical release that begins November 29, which will be followed by the film’s streaming premiere December 7 on Netflix.
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