Disney has been busy putting together a live action film of Cinderella, and now they’re planning a live action version of another story from their vault of animated movies: “The Jungle Book.” Deadline says that the studio has hired Justin Marks to write the script.
“The Jungle Book” (1967) was based on Rudyard Kipling’s 1894 book of the same name. A collection of moral lessons disguised as short stories set in India, where Kipling was born, “The Jungle Book”was intended to give young Victorian children instruction about how to grow up to good British citizens of the greatest empire on Earth. It did this so successfully that the book became something of a guide for the young boys involved in the early 20th century Boy Scout movement.
The most famous stories in the book are “Rikki-Tikki-Tavi,” the story of a heroic mongoose who defends a British family from cobras, and the Mowgli stories, about an abandoned boy raised in the jungle by wolves. The animated movie of “The Jungle Book” was based mostly on the Mowgli stories, and you’d expect that Disney’s new live version will be, too. The 1967 film was a musical, by the way, with the music the most memorable part, especially the song “The Bare Necessities.” I don’t know if Disney’s up to making an original live action musical, which is more challenging than an animated one.
This is far from the first live action version of “The Jungle Book.” There was a 1942 movie made by legendary British producer Alexander Korda, starring Indian actor Sabu, and there was a 1994 adaptation starring Jason Scott Lee. There have been various other TV and animated versions.
Oh, and did we mention that this isn’t the only “Jungle Book” film in development right now? India is producing a 3D animated version, and Warner Brothers has a live action version pretty far along, with a script by Steve Kloves. And there’s a stage musical currently playing in Chicago. The book is in public domain, so everyone jump into “The Jungle Book” free for all.