'Jungle Book' Live-Action Reboot in the Works at Disney (Exclusive)
Disney is swinging into development on a live-action adaptation of The Jungle Book, Rudyard Kipling’s classic set of fables based in India. Justin Marks has been hired to pen the script.
The short-story collection was published in 1894, and the majority of the tales focus on Mowgli, a young boy raised by wolves whose friends include a bear named Baloo and a panther by the name of Bagheera. One of the adversaries that pops up several times is Shere Khan, a mean tiger.
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Disney famously adapted the stories in a 1967 animated film (it was the last film to be produced by Walt Disney, who died during production). The stories also have been adapted into numerous live-action and cartoon forms.
The Jungle Book stories are in the public domain and are so popular that Warner Bros. is developing its own Mowgli adventure. Steve Kloves, who wrote the majority of the Harry Potter movies, is writing that script. A stage production of the book debuted July 1 at Chicago's Goodman Theatre.
Disney’s take is in the early stages, and the project has no producers attached. A search for a director is underway.
Jungle Book is the latest Disney animated film to get the live-action treatment. Alice in Wonderland started the trend, grossing $1 billion in the process, and Maleficent, based on Sleeping Beauty, is in the can. Cinderella, under the direction of Kenneth Branagh, is readying for a fall shoot.
Marks penned an early draft of Disney's 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea reboot, which at the time was being produced by Sean Bailey, now the studio’s production president. He also wrote The Raven, based on the hot Internet short, which is being produced by Mark Wahlberg and has Ricardo de Montreuil directing for Gold Circle and Universal.
Marks is repped by CAA, Madhouse Entertainment and Lichter Grossman.
by Graeme McMillan