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JUNGLE BOOK ORIGINS

Go Behind-the-Scenes of Andy Serkis’ Mowgli

In Andy Serkis’ new film Mowgli, the classic Rudyard Kipling children’s story “The Jungle Book” is getting an adaptation that is much closer in spirit to Kipling’s darker tone. The new trailer showed just how much Serkis was committed to capturing the story of a feral child torn between the home he has always known in the jungle, and the confusing, even more terrifying world of humans. Played by Rohan Chand, Mowgli is very much the title character’s story, with his assorted animal friends and enemies (voiced by an all-star cast) coaxing and goading him as he struggles to figure out where he belongs. If he can survive that long, that is.

“We wanted to engage much more closely with the tone of the book,” says Serkis in this behind-the-scenes featurette. The multitalented performer poured four years into making Mowgli, and this was in the midst of arguably the busiest stretch of his career. While Serkis first became well known for playing Gollum in The Lord of the Rings trilogy, he’s gotten even busier since he was finally done slavering after his precious. He was the marquee name as the chimpanzee Caesar in the consistently excellent Planet of the Apes trilogy, he was Star Wars: The Force Awakens and The Last Jedi‘s big bad Supreme Leader Snoke, and just this year played the gleeful super criminal Klaw in Ryan Coogler’s Black Panther. Turning his attention to Mowgli, the master of motion-capture technology is doing double duty, as director and performer (he plays the wise bear, Baloo), and he’s given his all to steering the Kipling classic into more unsettling terrain, creating a look and feel much different than Jon Favreau’s work in the 2016 Disney adaptation.

“It’s not so much a child’s fairytale, this has a reality to it. It has real consequence,” Serkis says. “This is definitely drawn from Kipling and has a much darker approach to the storytelling. There’s no singing or dancing by the animals, that’s for sure.”

Here’s the official synopsis for Mowgli:

“The story follows the upbringing of the human child Mowgli, raised by a wolf pack in the jungles of India. As he learns the often harsh rules of the jungle, under the tutelage of a bear named Baloo and a panther named Bagheera, Mowgli becomes accepted by the animals of the jungle as one of their own. All but one: the fearsome tiger Shere Khan. But there may be greater dangers lurking in the jungle, as Mowgli comes face to face with his human origins.”

Mowgli opens on October 19th, and also stars Christian Bale as the panther, Bagheera; Cate Blanchett as the snake, Kaa; Benedict Cumberbatch as the tiger, Shere Khan; Naomie Harris as Nisha, the female wolf, who treats Mowgli like one of her cubs; Peter Mullan as the leader of the wolf pack, Akela; Jack Reynor as Mowgli’s Brother Wolf; Eddie Marsan as Nisha’s mate, Vihaan; and Tom Hollander as the hyena, Tabaqui.

Check out the featurette below.

Featured image: Rohan Chand is Mowgli. Courtesy Warner Bros. Pictures

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The Credits is an online magazine that tells the story behind the story to celebrate our large and diverse creative community. Focusing on profiles of below-the-line filmmakers, The Credits celebrates the often uncelebrated individuals who are indispensable to the films and TV shows we love.

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