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Ron Howard Eyes the Live-Action ‘Jungle Book’ — But Not Disney’s

Ron Howard The Jungle Book
Getty Images/Disney

Not too long ago, Disney put a live-action ‘Jungle Book‘ movie into development with Jon Favreau set to the direct for an October 9, 2015 release. However, because moviegoers were so clearly pining for two live-action ‘Jungle Books’ (that’s sarcasm), another one is coming from Warner Bros., and the film is eyeing ‘Rush‘ helmer Ron Howard for the director’s chair.

Where previously ‘Babel’ director Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu was looking to take the gig, he soon dropped out due to scheduling. Now, The Hollywood Reporter first broke the news of Howard, who entered talks to take on ‘The Jungle Book’ as both a director and producer. As for the creative teaming backing up this film version, Steve Kloves, who wrote all the ‘Harry Potter’ movies, is on board as producer, while his daughter Callie wrote the ‘Jungle Book’ screenplay.

By now we all (especially those of us who grew up watching the animated version) should know the story of ‘The Jungle Book’ — true wild child Mowgli is raised by wolves and grows up to live among the animals in the Indian jungles with his best pals: Balloo, the bear, and Bagheera, the panther. It’s based on the Rudyard Kipling story of the same, which was, aside from Disney’s animated turn, made into a live-action take, released in 1994 with Jason Scott Lee starring.

Because the original ‘Jungle Book’ story is public domain, both Warner Bros. and Disney are legally able to make their rival films, although it leaves audiences a bit frustrated. Remember when there were two rival ‘Snow White’ films — ‘Snow White and the Huntsman‘ and ‘Mirror, Mirror’? Do we really need two of them? While previous rivaling films stood apart based on genre (one comedic, one dark), we’re left wondering if we’ll be getting two almost identical takes on Mowgli. Though we are interested in Howard’s take on this classic tale.

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