Andy Serkis Says 'Jungle Book' Adaptation 'Doesn't Shy Away From Its Darkness'

Andy Serkis Cinemacon - H 2014
Twentieth Century Fox

Andy Serkis Cinemacon - H 2014

LAS VEGAS -- Prior to receiving the Vanguard Award on Thursday evening at CinemaCon, actor Andy Serkis talked with The Hollywood Reporter about his latest role as director of Warner Bros.' live action take on Rudyard Kipling's The Jungle Book.

The actor -- best known for his roles as Gollum in The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey and Caesar in Rise of the Planet of the Apes and upcoming Dawn of the Planet of the Apes -- said he first read The Jungle Book as a child growing up in Baghdad. "I found it mesmerizing, and it transported me into this incredible world," he said. "It's extraordinary that I'm getting a chance to bring it to the screen.

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"What I love about the screen adaptation by Steve and Callie Kloves is it's very truthful to the original book; it doesn’t shy away from its darkness. The jungle is a Garden of Eden and a wonderful place for Mowgli to grow up in, but also is a place of fear and a place of threat."

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This will mark Serkis' feature directorial debut after directing second unit on Peter Jackson's The Hobbit trilogy. Warners offered a glimpse at the final film, The Hobbit: There and Back Again, which opens Dec. 17, during its slate presentation Thursday at CinemaCon. This segment included a recorded message from Jackson and a look back at the previous Lord of the Rings and Hobbit films.