Netflix’s coffers are proving to be quite deep. The company has announced that they’ve purchased the rights from Warner Bros. to Andy Serkis’ upcoming take on The Jungle Book which he’s titled, Mowgli.
The terms of the deal weren’t disclosed, but Warner Bros. is obviously hesitant to follow through with the project after seeing Disney’s 2016 live action remake do so well. Disney’s take was directed by Jon Favreau and featured an all-star lineup as its voice cast that included Bill Murray, Ben Kingsley, Idris Elba, Lupita Nyong’o, Scarlett Johansson, Giancarlo Esposito and Christopher Walken.
Mowgli too has a phenomenal cast. Christian Bale plays the panther Bagheera, Cate Blanchett is the seductive snake Kaa, Benedict Cumberbatch is Shere Khan, Naomie Harris voices Nish, and Andy Serkis takes on the infamous role of Baloo the bear.
Serkis insists that this is isn’t your typical fairy tale take on the property though. He says it’s ”a darker telling”. “It’s really not meant for young kids, though I think it’s possible that 10 or above can watch it. It was always meant to be PG-13, and this allows us to go deeper, with darker themes, to be scary and frightening in moments.”
The film is likely Netflix’s largest acquisition to date. And while the standard edition of Mowgli will be exclusive to Netflix, Serkis has been working on a 3D version that will still hit theaters. Serkis gushes about his 3D take, saying “it’s exceptional, a different view from the 2D version, really lush and with great depth, and there will be some kind of theatrical component for that.”
The movie was originally slated to hit theaters in October of this year. Netflix is pushing it back though, which Serkis confirmed by saying “We are talking about 2019 and circling dates.” The director is thrilled about his new collaboration with Netflix. If for no other reason than the obvious one, “Now, we avoid comparisons to the other movie and it’s a relief not to have the pressure.”