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‘Planet of the Apes’ Star Andy Serkis Sets Directorial Debut With ‘The Jungle Book’

Andy Serkis Jungle Book
Getty Images/Fox

From being an ape, to leading them, to now directing them …

Motion-capture master Andy Serkis, who famously portrayed intelligent ape Caesar in the prequel ‘Planet of the Apes‘ movies and became Gollum for Peter Jackson’s ‘The Lord of the Rings‘ and ‘The Hobbit‘ trilogies, will step into the director’s chair for Warner Bros.’ rendition of ‘The Jungle Book.’

This news, as first reported by THR, marks Serkis’ directorial debut, as well as finally reaching a decision on the long-sought-after gig. ‘Babel’ director Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu originally got the job but fell off due to scheduling conflicts, and while Ron Howard was in talks, they apparently did not progress far enough.

It’s about time the WB got its act together, considering Disney’s rival ‘Jungle Book’ project not only has a director in ‘Chef‘ and ‘Iron Man‘ helmer Jon Favreau, but it also started casting. Idris Elba of ‘Thor,’ ‘Luthor’ and ‘Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom’ fame will voice the villainous tiger Shere Khan.

While directing is a job in itself and only a handful of people can create successful films while both helming and acting, fans would no doubt want to see Serkis also feature somehow into the cast of his ‘Jungle Book,’ though that remains unclear at this point. What we do know, however, is that Warner Bros. plans to stick closely to the original Rudyard Kipling stories of Mogli and his wild upbringing, which is much more dark than the beloved animated Disney movie would lead you to believe. Aside from his incredible motion-capture/CG performances, Serkis proved himself a master behind the camera through his Imaginarium, a performance capture studio he started with Jonathan Cavendish that’s contributed to such movies as ‘Rise’ and ‘Dawn of the Planet of the Apes.’

A release date has yet to be determined, though casting should be revealed in the near future.

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