It has been quite a complicated route to Andy Serkis’s directorial debut. While “Breathe” was the first film directed by Serkis to ever be released into cinemas, Serkis actually helmed production on “Jungle Book” first, with principal photography starting back in March 2015.
However, since the post-production process on “Jungle Book” is so extensive, as motion capture was used for its performances, we actually won’t get to see Serkis’ interpretation of Rudyard Kipling’s book until October 19, 2018. I recently had the opportunity to sit down and talk to Serkis about his move behind the camera with “Jungle Book” and “Breathe,” and he admitted that rather than feeling nervous about the transition he felt both “equipped" and as though he had "earned the right."
“When I stepped onto ‘Jungle Book’ I felt equipped. There was a massive pre-production, and there is always a sheer onslaught on a big scale film like that. But because I’d directed 2nd unit on ‘The Hobbit,’ we shot for 200 days on that, working to someone else’s vision was really good, because it allowed me to learn the craft. So when I stepped onto ‘Jungle Book’ I felt equipped, performance capture stuff aside. But even then, I felt like I’d earned the right.”
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There was another rather big reason why Andy Serkis’ version of “Jungle Book” was pushed back two years from its original October 2016 release date. Jon Favreau’s own incarnation of the book, mixed with elements of Disney’s 1967 film, hit in April, 2016, and grossed over $966 million, stealing its thunder. However, Serkis has insisted that his interpretation is much different to Favreau’s film, and in fact leans heavier on Kipling’s source material.
We’ll find out if that’s the case when “Jungle Book” is released on October 19, 2018. In the meantime, you can check out Andy Serkis’ debut release “Breathe,” which is now in cinemas.