Andy Serkis to Direct 'Animal Farm' Adaptation for Netflix

The streamer recently acquired the filmmaker's feature directorial debut 'Mowgli' from Warner Bros.
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Andy Serkis

On the heels of acquiring Andy Serkis-helmed Mowgli from Warner Bros., Netflix has picked up Animal Farm, a retelling of George Orwell’s novel that Serkis first said he planned to make in 2012.

The project will be directed by Serkis and produced by The Imaginarium, the London-based performance-capture studio headed by Serkis and producer Jonathan Cavendish; and 6th & Idaho, steered by Matt Reeves, who directed Dawn of the Planet of the Apes and War for the Planet of the Apes, both performance-capture based films starring Serkis. The pic will be produced by Reeves, Serkis, 6th & Idaho's Rafi Crohn and Adam Kassan, and Imaginarium's Cavendish. Writers have not yet been announced.

In January, 6th & Idaho inked a multiyear deal with Netflix, through which the streaming service would get an exclusive first look at any features that Reeves plans to produce and/or direct under 6th & Idaho.

In 2012, Serkis said he planned to helm a performance-capture-based retelling of Animal Farm, which at the time was to be produced by The Imaginarium. His studio had acquired the film rights to the material, an allegorical novel first published in 1945 about the issues that led to the Russian Revolution. Serkis also intended to play a role in the movie.

But much has happened since then. Serkis starred in the aforementioned Planet of the Apes films, uniting him with Reeves, and in 2014 he signed on to direct Warner Bros.' retelling of Rudyard Kipling's The Jungle Book, all of which put Animal Farm on the back burner. Mowgli was scheduled for an October debut until last week, when Netflix announced that it had acquired the film from Warners. It is now slated for a 2019 release.