Sunday, 29 May 2016

Andy Serkis' Jungle Book: Origins pushed back to 2018

With Jon Favreau (Cowboys & Aliens) and Walt Disney Pictures' barnstorming take on The Jungle Book currently dominating the box office, you might be forgiven for forgetting that Andy Serkis (Dawn Of The Planet Of The Apes) has been working on his own version. But if you were excited by that prospect, you are going to have to be even more patient, with news arriving via The Hollywood Reporter that Warner Bros have moved Jungle Book: Origins back a year to 2018 in their latest round of schedule shuffling.

The movie has already seen one release date change, and had the disadvantage of arriving a while after Favreau's film. But perhaps a further shift will actually be to the films advantage, allowing memories to cool and comparisons to dim. After having worked extensively on the Hobbit trilogy as a second unit director, he is stepping up to make Jungle Book: Origins his full directorial debut, having recruited the likes of Benedict Cumberbatch (The Imitation Game), Christian Bale (The Dark Knight Rises), Cate Blanchett (Blue Jasmine), Naomie Harris (Skyfall), Jack Reynor (Transformers: Age Of Extinction), Eddie Marsan (The World's End), Peter Mullan (Tyrannosaur), Tom Hollander (About Time) and Matthew Rhy (Brothers & Sisters).

And Serkis himself seems pleased with the chance to refine his techniques. "I've got to say that personally I'm absolutely thrilled that Warner Brothers have changed the delivery date of Jungle Book: Origins", he wrote on Facebook. "The ambition for this project is huge. What we are attempting is an unprecedented level of psychological and emotional nuance in morphing the phenomenal performances of our cast into the facial expressions of our animals. We are breaking new ground with realistic non-humanoid animal faces, such as a panther or wolf, ensuring that they convincingly communicate with human language and emotion via performance capture, and are able to stand up to real scrutiny in richly complex dramatic scenes.

"So, every minute more that we have to evolve the technological pipeline will make all the difference... the evidence is there already and it's off the chain exciting, so hang on in there... This is truly next generation storytelling, and it will be the real deal!"

And Jungle Book: Origins was not the only film on the move. The studio have also shifted Wonder Woman a couple of weeks earlier to 2 June 2017, at least in the US. It has also added two untitled DC Comics films for 5 October 2018 and 1 November 2019, while also pushing another to fill Jungle Book: Origins' old slot of 6 October 2017. The Jungle Book adaptation is shifting to 19 October 2018.

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