Earlier this year, Netflix announced that they had acquired the worldwide rights to the film Mowgli, directed by CGI extraordinaire Andy Serkis. Now, a new trailer has landed, determined to dispel any ‘second-rate’ rumours.
The Netflix acquisition came amid fears that a full theatrical release could be disastrous for the live-action film, given that just two years ago Disney dropped their own live-action version of the same story… raking in over US$100 million (AUS$138 million) at the box office on opening week alone.
Speaking to Deadline, Serkis said:
“We found ourselves in this race with Disney and there was a time when we were neck and neck, in who would come first. Both studios wanted to be first. But we realized that the performance capture techniques required time in how I wanted to work in post, and we decided to let the other film have its moment.”
Mowgli will now head straight to Netflix, after just a short theatrical run in selected cities, to avoid any comparison and potential box-office disappointment. It promises to be a darker, grittier version of the tale, and truer to the original Kipling book.
“You cannot ignore, though, that [Kipling] wrote and reflected the political situation at the time, and in a mild way, the film examines emotions of class and colonialisation of India.”
Serkis is known for his extensive CGI work, starring in CGI roles in films such as The Lord of the Rings, King Kong, and The Planet of the Apes, among others. His animals are already drawing attention, with their less-polished, somewhat creepy-looking appearances.
The film boasts a star-studded cast with Christian Bale, Cate Blanchett, Benedict Cumberbatch, Tom Hollander, and Naomie Harris all involved.
Speaking about the move to Netflix, Serkis said:
“I’m really excited about Netflix for Mowgli. Now, we avoid comparisons to the other movie and it’s a relief not to have the pressure. I’ve seen the 3D version, and it’s exceptional, a different view from the 2D version, really lush and with great depth, and there will be some kind of theatrical component for that.
“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.
“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.”
We can bear-ly wait to see it!