'Babel' Director Now Circling Competing 'Jungle Book' at Warner Bros.
After just learning that Disney was sending their new live-action adaptation of The Jungle Book to theaters in 2015 with Iron Man and Elf helmer Jon Favreau directing, a competing adaptation of Rudyard Kipling's novel is making progress at Warner Bros. Deadline has word that the studio is in early talks with Babel, 21 Grams and Amores Perros director Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu to be at the helm. This project first surfaced back in April of 2012 with a script from Harry Potter franchise writer Steve Kloves, and now it has legs again. If you're wondering how this is possible, Kipling's book is in public domain, which means the rights don't need to be purchased in order to adapt the story into a feature film or other medium.
It's unclear which project will get off the ground first, but unlike other competing projects like next year's Hercules battle between directors Renny Harlin (The Legend of Hercules, formerly known as Hercules: The Legend Begins) and Brett Ratner (Hercules starring Dwayne Johnson), since this is an adaptation of the exact same book, whoever goes into production first will likely win, and the other studio will surrender. Of course, if the stories are different enough and one of the titles changes, we could still see them compete.
Disney seems to be ahead of Warner Bros. with a completed script, signed director and release date set, but anything can happen. Frankly, I'm a little more inclined to have interest in Inarritu's project because of his filmography (including his forthcoming comedy Birdman with Michael Keaton), especially with a script from Kloves, who is much more proven than Disney's hired writer Justin Marks. We'll see what happens as these projects develop, but there will likely only be one king of The Jungle Book when all is said and done.