Mowgli set­tles in at Net­flix

The Prince George Citizen - - A&e -

LOS AN­GE­LES — To say Andy Serkis has been through the ringer with his adap­ta­tion of Rud­yard Ki­pling’s The Jun­gle Book is a bit of an un­der­state­ment. It was al­ways go­ing to be an am­bi­tious project for a first-time di­rec­tor – dark, in­tense and more in the spirit of Ki­pling’s sto­ries, with a big stu­dio (Warner Bros.) be­hind it, a block­buster bud­get, A-list ta­lent to match, from Chris­tian Bale to Cate Blanchett, and all the high-pres­sure stakes that go along with that.

But five years ago when he signed up to di­rect, Serkis didn’t know that Walt Dis­ney Stu­dios would soon be an­nounc­ing its own live-ac­tion Jun­gle Book, which would beat his to the­atres by over two years and be­come a nearly bil­lion dol­lar box-of­fice sen­sa­tion. And no one would have guessed that at the 11th-hour this sum­mer, af­ter pro­mo­tions had al­ready be­gun, his own stu­dio would sell his ver­sion to Net­flix.

“This wasn’t the eas­i­est ride for any­body,” Serkis said. “It re­ally did go through a mas­sively long jour­ney.”

Serkis was even able to di­rect an­other movie (Breathe) and star in at least one (War for the Planet of the Apes) dur­ing the post pro­duc­tion for Mowgli: Leg­end of the Jun­gle which de­buts on the stream­ing ser­vice to­day.

The af­fa­ble Serkis is just ex­cited peo­ple are fi­nally go­ing to get to see his pas­sion project.

The Cal­lie Kloves-writ­ten screen­play takes the Mowgli myth away from the sunny, toetap­ping Dis­ney ver­sions, and back to Ki­pling’s orig­i­nal vi­sion of the boy raised by wolves.

Ac­tor Ro­han Chand (Lone Sur­vivor) was brought on to lead the film at age 10 (he’s now 14), op­po­site heavy­weight ac­tors like Bale, who plays Bagheera, Blanchett as Kaa, Bene­dict Cum­ber­batch as Shere Khan, Naomie Har­ris as Nisha and Serkis him­self as Baloo.

In or­der to see through Serkis’s grand vi­sion, Chand had to essen­tially shoot the film twice. First with the “A” ta­lent like Bale and Cum­ber­batch, wear­ing mo­tion cap­ture tech on their faces and arms, and then again on lo­ca­tion with a dif­fer­ent set of ac­tors mim­ick­ing the move­ments of the jun­gle an­i­mals.

“Ro­han was ex­tra­or­di­nary,” Serkis said of his young star who he helped guide through some in­tense scenes, emo­tion­ally and phys­i­cally. “He had to en­dure real phys­i­cal pain and a lot of tech­ni­cal chal­lenges which he did with great ease.”

The Mo­tion Pic­ture As­so­ci­a­tion of Amer­ica has given Mowgli a PG-13 rat­ing.

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