Andy Serkis has teased his big screen adaptation of The Jungle Book is “much more savage” than Disney’s recent re-imagining of the classic story.
The 53-year-old star has directed a motion capture interpretation of Rudyard Kipling’s 1894 book for Warner Bros. Pictures but the release date was moved from 2016 due to Disney bringing out their own live-action version based on the studio’s classic animation.
Serkis’ film will now hit cinemas in October 2018 and he has promised audiences will be in for a different experience if they see his beastly adventure which focuses on ‘man cub’ Mowgli fight for survival against the tiger Shere Khan.
Speaking to The Times newspaper, he said: “We were neck and neck for some time. And the fact of the matter is we probably could’ve come out in cinemas closer together. But the decision was ‘why do that?’ I saw their film, and it’s great, but ours is a completely different take. Ours is much more savage. There are no songs, and it’s not meant for young families.”
In Serkis’ film, Christian Bale plays black panther Bagheera, Cate Blanchett as anaconda Kaa and Benedict Cumberbatch is the villainous Shere Khan, while Mowgli will be played by Rohan Chand.
Serkis is considered to be a pioneer of motion capture and his acclaimed performances include Gollum in the Lord of the Rings trilogy and chimpanzee Caesar in the Planet of the Apes franchise.
He created his own motion capture workshop, The Imaginarium Studios, in London but his main advice for actors stepping into that world for the first time is not treat your performance like a “pantomime”.
He said: “When actors come to me for advice about performance-capture I have nothing to offer other than one thing. Don’t pantomime it. Don’t overdo it. It’s about acting. If it’s a close-up on your face don’t think that you have to do a lot with your face. It’s in there. Just believe it. And act.”