They’ve been adapted countless times, both on the screen and in print, but this might be one of the rare instances in which a remake actually makes sense: Variety is reporting that the BBC, in conjunction with Pathe Films, is mounting a live-action Jungle Book project.
For what will be the sixth live-action adaptation of Rudyard Kipling’s classic stories, director John Downer will utilize the same CGI techniques he used for 2004’s Pride in order to make the film’s animal characters appear to speak. (It’s worth noting, for the skeptics in the audience, that Pride was nominated for an Emmy, so Downer’s no slouch in the talking-animals department.) Exterior shots for the project, whose $50 million budget is being shared by Pathe and the BBC, will be filmed in India’s Ranthambore Tiger Reserve.
Kipling’s fourteen Jungle Book stories, originally published in 1893 and 1894, have resurfaced in different forms all over the world, from the popular Disney cartoons to comic books to the anime series Jungle Book Shonen Mowgli (later dubbed in Arabic as Fatah El Adghal: Boy of the Jungle). They’re more than just Mowgli and Baloo dancing around the jungle to the strains of “I Wanna Be Like You,” in other words, and it could be persuasively argued that until recently, filmmakers have lacked the technology to do the stories justice.
Of course, it could also be persuasively argued that this is just another desperate attempt by a creatively bankrupt entertainment industry to squeeze a few more bucks out of an old property, but we’re choosing to remain optimistic about this one. For now.