Andy Serkis Previews Darker Live-Action Retelling Of Rudyard Kipling’s ‘The Jungle Book’

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Andy Serkis previewed his darker take on the Jungle Book by playing a few minutes of the flick on Tuesday at CinemaCon in Las Vegas.

A Darker Take

Serkis introduced a first look at his upcoming movie, Mowgli, which is a grittier version of its source material.

The movie, due this fall, is a live-action adaptation of Rudyard Kipling's The Jungle Book that looks to be completely different from Disney's lively 2016 adaptation of the classic tale.

"This is trying to delve into Kipling's book and the journey for Mowgli as an outsider," Serkis explained of his moodier vision for the project.

He elaborated on how audiences are so used to the beloved 1967 Disney version and argued that he wants to give them something different, more focused on the titular character. Worried fans needn't fear, however, as Baloo the Bear is set to appear.

The featured clips showed baby Mowgli and some familiar jungle inhabitants. Serkis focused on how the animals mentored Mowgli and how his journey from orphaned child to jungle leader develops. He described the film as the story of a boy turning into a warrior.

Too Much Kipling?

The CinemaCon crowd had positive feedback for Mowgli's teaser, reports reveal. Serkis may have his work cut out of for him, though, considering the amount of goodwill the original animated film still has.

Likewise, Jon Favreau's 2016 take was a critical and commercial success, banking close to a billion dollars at the worldwide box office. The film also nabbed an Oscar for VFX.

A sequel is slated for release, but Favreau is working on another live-action adaptation of a beloved classic, The Lion King, at the moment. Disney also unveiled footage showcasing the movie opening and the much-loved "Circle of Life" sequence at CinemaCon.

All The Components Are There

Mowgli stars Benedict Cumberbatch, who plays Shere Khan, Cate Blanchett, who plays Kaa, Matthew Rhys, who plays John Lockwood, and Rohan Chand, who plays the titular boy, joined Serkis at the event.

The live-action and CGI components of Mowgli are very much in Serkis's wheelhouse. The actor has a huge amount of motion-capture experience from his time playing Gollum in the Lord of the Rings films, as well as Caesar in the Planet of the Apes franchise, a role which many believed should've netted him an Academy Award.

"Andy is the undisputed master of this form. And he's a fantastic storyteller who understands character and motivation," gushed Cumberbatch of his director.

Regardless of Serkis's talents for creating realistic worlds out of computer-generated backgrounds, Warner Bros. may have a tough time selling a movie that is too dark for children, the primary market for all things Jungle Book.

Disney, meanwhile, is working on live-action adaptations of The Lion King, Aladdin, and Dumbo, as well as Mary Poppins Returns, all of which are kid-friendly.

Mowgli hits theaters October 19.

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