Warner Bros. Sells Andy Serkis' 'Mowgli' Film to Netflix

The part live-action, part motion-capture project is expected to hit the popular streaming service next year. Serkis says the move will allow the project to explore darker themes "without compromise."

'Mowgli' Cast

Image via Getty/Alberto E. Rodriguez

'Mowgli' Cast

Netflix has secured one of its biggest movie deals to date.

According to an exclusive Deadline report, the streaming giant has purchased the rights to Mowgli from Warner Bros. Entertainment. The Andy Serkis-directed project is based off Rudyard Kipling’s 1894 novel The Jungle Book and is said to be much darker than Disney’s 2016 remake.

“What excites me most is the forward thinking at Netflix in how to present this, and the message of the movie. They understand this is a darker telling that doesn’t fit it into a four-quadrant slot,” Serkis told Deadline. “It’s really not meant for young kids, though I think it’s possible that 10 or above can watch it. It was always meant to be PG-13, and this allows us to go deeper, with darker themes, to be scary and frightening in moments. The violence between animals is not gratuitous, but it’s definitely there. This way of going allows us to get the film out without compromise.”

Serkis’ version of The Jungle Book will be part live-action and part motion-capture with 3D effects. The film will star Rohan Chand as the titular child, as well as Christian Bale, Benedict Cumberbatch, Cate Blanchett, Freida Pinto, and Naomie Harris.

Mowgli has experienced a number of setbacks over the years. It was initially scheduled for a 2016 release, then an Oct. 18, 2018 release, and now it is expected to hit Netflix sometime next year “with a theatrical component built in.”

“I think this is their largest acquisition, it’s a big movie,” Serkis said about the Netflix deal. “But I never looked at it as a big blockbuster movie. It’s hard to quantify. It has the scale of a blockbuster, but it’s somewhere between Life of Pi and an Apes movie […] We are talking about 2019 and circling dates. Netflix has allowed the filmmaking that I wanted to do, to exist and they’ve created an atmosphere for my kind of storytelling I set out to do. “

Keep it locked as more information about Mowgli’s release is revealed.

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